March 12, 2011

"Japan relieved after nuclear meltdown in Fukushima avoided"

Looks like they’ll be no real-world Godzilla vs Mothra battles, after all.

I still say nuclear energy needs to be strongly promoted here in the states (it’s probably best to keep reactors out of California, however). And I suspect we can use what we learn from Japan to better the containment and cooling technology.

Besides. I’m pretty sure wind turbines wouldn’t have stood up any better to the earthquake and tsunami — though I grant failed wind turbines are less likely to force me into eating Kellogg’s Iodine Flakes for breakfast every day for the rest of my life.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 12:18pm
61 comments | Trackback

Comments (61)

  1. Not even just a few little baby Godzillas?

  2. I think this will kill any chances of new nuclear power plants being built in the U.S. any time soon. People have been taught to be deathly afraid of radiation, and this will reinforce that. It’s difficult to explain to people that new reactor designs could likely prevent this kind of near accident in the future. It’s difficult to explain that the Chernobyl plant did not have a proper containment vessel, which made that disaster completely avoidable.

    The MBM and the greenies will conflate Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima as being all the same thing, and we will continue to chase our tails with windmills and solar power. Eventually, we will not be able to generate enough electricity, and we will be rationed. It’s time to buy more candles.

  3. Buy candles now, before they are outlawed, too.

  4. I watched Mothra the other night on Netflix just before this whole mess started. Coincidence. I think not.

    I am glad that this is far less than Chernobyl and more of a TMI incident (at least it seems so). Otherwise we will need to mine more coal. This is how it will work.

  5. Those opposed to nuclear power will not let it be forgotten, as Jan Beranek, head of Greenpeace’s international nuclear campaign, made clear.

    “How many more warnings do we need before we finally grasp that nuclear reactors are inherently hazardous? The nuclear industry always tells us that situation like this cannot happen with modern reactors, yet Japan is currently in the middle of a potentially devastating nuclear crisis,” he said.

    “Once again, we are reminded of the inherent risks of nuclear power, which will always be vulnerable to the potentially deadly combination of human error, design failure and natural disaster.”

    Far far more people are now dead due to drowning in the tsunami. Yet I don’t hear the Luddites demanding an end to coastal residency.

  6. “Once again, we are reminded of the inherent risks of nuclear power driving cars, which will always be vulnerable to the potentially deadly combination of human error, design failure and natural disaster.”

    Or, you know, insert whatever else you want in there.

    Other options include “having sex,” “eating,” “breathing,” “wearing clothing,” “bonfires,” “organic food,” “the human body,” …

  7. “Once again, we are reminded of the inherent risks of nuclear power Democrat governance, which will always be vulnerable to the potentially deadly combination of human error, design failure and natural disaster.”

    But mostly design failure, in that particular case.

  8. The San Andreas Fault is not supposed to be capable of a quake of that magnitude… of course as my conservative my cro magnon brow would indicate, I am skeptical of what they “know”.
    Supposedly the NW is most at risk

    But I think that going forward from an 8.9 quake, the Japanese will study and learn to build nuclear power plants that will withstand those types of huge quakes… those that rule us will probably respond to the new knowledge by attacking Sarah Palin and blaming the Japan quake on fracking in N. Dakota

  9. Jeff, just want to thank you for taking a decidedly relaxed view on the whole Godzilla Syndrome Disaster. Those other, decidedly more pragmatic blogs I monitor (BigHotAcearico) have been pissing me off with the whole “omg! nuclear meltdown! weesa gonna die!” rumor-mongering and misinformation ‘thing’. “Update #7: The World Ends Tomorrow and You May Die!”, indeed.

    It was like watching the cable news channels (which I don’t recommend) whenever there’s a big event. “Coming up at the top of the hour, Greta interviews the alleged shooter’s former hairdresser.”

    Pathetic. Just like the BP Oil Spill, where for days everyone pretended to be a big expert in deep-sea oil drilling (“I’m watching the robot camera feed, and it looks like the stack is now 27.5 degrees off-vertical. Total blowout imminent!”) and in the end it was a big fat nothing. I deeply suspect the Japanese thing is going to turn out the same way. (The reactors, that is. Obviously the tsunami itself is a Big Deal.)

    Hyper-caffeinated News Monkeys. Makes ‘us’ look every bit as stupid and irrational as the AGW crowd.

  10. No problem, John. And thanks. I tried to approach it just like I approached Katrina back in the day.

    Many conservatives pissed me off back then, too.

  11. (it’s probably best to keep reactors out of California, however)

    I guess nobody toldja about San Onofre then, eh Jeff? ;-)

    It’s right on the shoreline, too.

  12. Far far more people are now dead due to drowning in the tsunami. Yet I don’t hear the Luddites demanding an end to coastal residency.

    Darleen, no one, to my knowledge, has died from this nuclear accident. It is unlikely (at least with what we know has happened so far) that anyone will die prematurely as a result of it. Obviously that could change and things could get very bad. Let’s hope that does not happen.

  13. John, let’s face it that news outlets (including blog sites) love the news being bad. If it bleeds, it leeds. If it is nuclear, it is even more spectookulear. Hot Air wants to generate itself some traffic. So does Drudge. Hell, I go check those sites like it will do something. But I will be perfectly happy to see this turn out exactly like you predict.

  14. Yet I don’t hear the Luddites demanding an end to coastal residency.

    Don’t give them any ideas!

  15. Pingback: Japan Update: Worst Case Scenario Rapidly Becoming Reality | monabonejackon

  16. What absolutely sets me off are assholes like Christopher Mims (@mims on the twitter), who lead his Grist article with the headline “Today’s tsunami: This is what climate change looks like”, and followed up with surreal stretches of unrelated ‘science’ to ‘prove’ his point. Today, I see he’s retitled the piece.

    Anything to shut down the evil that is modern civilization and society.

  17. ummm, ‘led'; unleaded.

  18. Mims not only changed his post title, he rewrote the damned thing. This line was in the original, changed significantly, but captured in the comments…

    “In a little-heeded warning issued at a 2009 conference on the subject, experts outlined a range of mechanisms by which climate change could already be causing more earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic activity.”

    What a tiny-pricked little whimp.

  19. Diablo Canyon too… I housesat for a guy who charged the gates in protest and wound up in custody… because we were all going to die…

    Diablo is old… so is San Onofre… too bad the overlords won’t let them upgrade

  20. Drudge: Sixth Reactor has failed at Fukushima. I wouldn’t trust the Japanese government to be too forthcoming.

  21. I guess nobody toldja about San Onofre then, eh Jeff? ;-)

    Ah, the Nuclear Titties. I know them well.

    As for Fukushima, I don’t think we know what the hell is going on. Lots of conflicting reports are out there, ranging from “We have this sort of under control, so don’t freak out.” to “ZOMG WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE TODAY!!!!”.

    24, maybe even 48 hour rule.

  22. Stacy is noting that all the Media Mavens are now flocking to Japan to boost ratings. I can safely predict that unlike Cairo, none of them will be beaten, raped or sexual assaulted in Japan.

    Except for Anderson Cooper who will be willingly violated by several large octopi.

  23. For a few unnerving hours, Japan faced a bleak and unsettling prospect. The devastation wreaked by Friday’s earthquake and tsunami seemed set to be followed by a nuclear meltdown that could have spread radioactive waste over large parts of the country.

    The nation was one short step away from enduring nishizono-shinji – an atomic disaster.

  24. “Far far more people are now dead due to drowning in the tsunami. Yet I don’t hear the Luddites demanding an end to coastal residency.”

    Been there. Done that.

  25. Pingback: If You’re Reading This, the World Has Not Yet Been Destroyed by a Global Nuclear Catastrophe.

  26. A commentator noted a bumpersticker his dad had: Jane Fonda killed more people than nuclear power ever did.

  27. True, John, it’s a wonder how inconvenient facts like the Ixtoc spill that happened almost 30 years to
    the day of Deepwater Horizon, end up in the Memory hole, along with the ‘extra five grams of chocolate
    ration’, and that took eight months to resolve. Jeff btw, I am coming to the conclusion, for the many times that WordPress has locked me out, out of several blogs, that it is Cutluthu’s tool.

  28. I’m still trying to figure out what type of reactor that was running in Japan. I’d say that everything was thrown at it – and it still worked.
    The more modern reactors are extremely safe (as are the modern coal fired plants), yet we refuse to build them.
    Hey – at least Obama peaked our oil production. It was that press conference that swung me over to the Obama is not just stupid, but malevolent. We should be cranking out small nuclear reactors and clean coal. Good God – when people see the price they are going to have to pay for Green Energy fantasies there won’t be a Democrat left standing.

  29. We’ll never hear it from the MBM if so but I suspect another half dozen systems or failsafes would have needed to be knocked out or failed in order for a meltdown to have become a possibility. The MBM will always report the narrative as fact and facts be damned.

    Anyway, how bad would a reactor melting down be? Of course we’re all told that the the molten metal would melt through the floor of the containment. That’s not what super heated concrete does. Concrete explodes rather than melting, which would scatter the molten reactor material around the floor of the containment allowing it to cool. If that’s not how it would work (too much material hitting a small patch of floor maybe?), we could probably design it to work that way. For instance the floor could be convex with the high point under the reactor, baffles and plates could pre-disperse the molten material and a special top layer could explode more vigorously, cooling and scattering the melted reactor core material, also provide enough floor space to allow for proper dispersion.

    Anyone with the engineering chops to tell me if any of these are good ideas?

  30. Good news for my family still in Japan, though most of them live in Tokyo and Sendai.

  31. It looks like Japan will have several nuclear plants permanently out of commission, several more severely damaged, but other than some gas venting, no spread of radioactivity beyond the plants themselves.

    Financially (on top of everything else she is dealing with) a huge blow to Japan, but the disaster most people feared was averted.

  32. A concise explanation, in plain English, of what has actually happened at the Japanese nuclear power plants:

    Fukushima Nuclear Accident – a simple and accurate explanation

    As one might expect, the mainstream media has gotten nearly everything wrong.

  33. Jane Fonda killed more people than nuclear power ever did.

    On a related note, the accident at Three Mile Island was, in many ways, much worse than the current crisis at Fukushima, and it resulted in the deaths of exactly no one.

  34. Japanese volcano erupts

    I remember reading somewhere years ago (Before Internet) that during the latter part of WWII American generals contemplated bombing Mt. Fuji with a nuclear strike to possibly induce an eruption, or possibly as a psyops maneuver. Mt. Fuji was (is?) considered one of the most revered icons in Japanese culture (forget apple pie, it’s Mom and Mt. Fuji). This photo enraged the Japanese after it was released for psyops usage.

  35. patterico takes a whack at jeff g.:

    neither wringing his hands in panic, nor (as some have done)
    rushing to declare everything is OK in advance of the facts.

    link

  36. What an arrogant, condescending insufferable prick.

  37. Patrick Frey can chew on Michael (Jabba the Filmmaker) Moore’s sausage. If he hasn’t already.

  38. http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/japan-quake-2011/beforeafter.htm

    Pretty cool before and after pictures.

    And as for Patterico, he might consider giving up drinking for Lent. When he starts to get into the second bottle of wine and start blogging, look out. Christopher Hitchens he is not.

  39. Excuse me, starts blogging. My drinking problem is I haven’t had sufficient coffee this morning.

  40. This accident might better be compared to Chernoble, but because of ingrained Soviet-era incompetence that event was much, much worse. Some 50 deaths very quickly, but if you believe Greenpeace over 100K from a quarter-million subsequent cancers. Of course those people were destined to live forever, only to die and become anti-nuclear fodder for a far-left group of whackos.

  41. Pingback: Why We Shouldn’t Be Freaking Out About Radiation in Japan . . . Just Yet

  42. Pingback: Marginalia

  43. serr8d, I am no expert on nuclear plant designs and accidents, but a few people are saying these failures may prove to be less than TMI when comparing reactor to reactor failure (although far bigger in the sense we are dealing with six plants and more reactors being damaged).

    While this was very bad in terms of destroying these plants this is definitely not Chernobyl (which while exaggerated was still a very severe accident in terms of bodily injuries and deaths).

  44. This is NOT Chernobyl at all. The containment (such as there was, which wasn’t much) failed spectacularly at Chernobyl. That did not happen here.

    Read Spiny’s link in #34, and be at ease. Remember how the MBM is always getting stuff wrong in your area of expertise? As it turns out, they aren’t experts in nuclear power either.

  45. Wait: you mean RoboShemp isn’t a nuclear scientist!?

    My whole concept of the Make Believe Media has been shaken. I need to go lie down.

  46. Oh dear, I’ve annoyed the DA.

    This fellow John Bradley over there in the linked thread seems to think we have all been screaming that we’re all going to die. Part of our “pragmatism.” We haven’t, of course, but his impression is certainly more important than the truth, I think we can all agree.

    It’s apparently a matter of political outlook how you respond to this, if Bradley is to be believed. Apparently the “true conservative” thing to do is declare there has been no meltdown, even as you link to articles that say there have.

    That’s what I liked about McCain’s coverage. He is second to none in his “true conservatism” but isn’t letting his politics govern how he reacts to the facts on the ground. That’s journalism.

    Which seems like another fine example of willful misreading. I wasn’t suggesting that the hyperactive rumor-mongering of the ‘pragmatic’ blogs is a particular example of their pragmatism; I suppose I could have just as accurately referred to them as lesser blogs (IMHO). Whatever.

    Though I must admit, I’m not sure that breathlessly posting update after update, before finally admitting “I’m sticking with my previous stance. We don’t really know what is going on and making any positive declarations about anything is premature” doesn’t sound like a particularly conservative approach. Why only ‘positive’ declarations? Isn’t it premature for all the negative declarations as well? Perhaps we just don’t know shit, and the 24hr rule should be in effect?

    But my actual point was: the frenetic aggregation and dissemination of highly-suspect ‘information’ (and the inevitable corrections to previous ‘information’), all in an effort to appear “on top of the situation”, well, it’s downright unseemly. The sort of thing I’d expect from Shep Smith.

    And it’s a huge distraction from the actual story. No meltdown, partial meltdown, full meltdown — it makes little to no difference. I can say, based on my esteemed position as “some asshole on the internet”, that not one person is going to die as a result of whatever the hell happens with the reactors.

    There’s unimaginable devastation and lord knows how many deaths from the actual disaster, but all the talk is so much “look, a shiny distracting thing! And it’s nuclear — ooh, scary!”

  47. Willful misreading is his bread and butter. He has it with his coffee every morning.

  48. John —

    Do you have a link for that bit you quoted from Good Man Central?

  49. this is the link

    link

  50. Thanks newrouter.

  51. Pingback: Japanese Say Radiation Leak May Effect Moths And Lizards -The Imbecile

  52. “I’m pretty sure wind turbines wouldn’t have stood up any better to the earthquake and tsunami — though I grant failed wind turbines are less likely to force me into eating Kellogg’s Iodine Flakes for breakfast every day for the rest of my life.”

    No, but wind turbines, due to their noise, *have* made people sick and killed animals. The noises Nuclear Power makes don’t do that. Nor does Nuke Power screw up radar and alter wind currents like turbines do. Also, they have the big advantage of actually *working.*

  53. “…those that rule us will probably respond to the new knowledge by attacking Sarah Palin and blaming the Japan quake on fracking in N. Dakota.”

    If they do that, we should blame “clean” Geothermal energy. After all, many Geothermal energy explorations have been shut down because they were causing tremors.

  54. Quick hits:

    – The commentators at Patterico are hilarious. One guy says, “Chernobyl was worse than people think.” Excuse me, but most people think Chernobyl was a near-apocalyptic disaster. How could they think worse? The fact is, bad as it was, Chernobyl was actually *not as bad* as people think!

    – One person brings up some “well-respected” world news service I’ve never heard of and claims that since they quote an official as saying a “meltdown” happened it means it’s true. First of all, even if they are “well respected”, that don’t prove crap. Stalin and Hitler were well respected by a lot of people. Second, no matter how good they may be, the fact is they cannot and are not getting their info firsthand, so them quoting some anonymous Japanese official, who himself or herself is getting the info second-hand, means little. Third, the term “meltdown” is being used very generically and very inexactly by too many people to begin with.

    -

  55. The body of the story has now changed and now no mention of a confirmed meltdown exists. So will Patterico shut up now?

    There is however, a lot of disjointed hysteria about ‘leaks’. The story just goes all over the place and is contradictory. What a joke.

  56. I’m still waiting for details but it looks like the safety measures in Japanese Nuclear plants have worked very well. It will be expensive to fix, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see these plants working again within a year.
    People that bring up Chernoble are a joke. The reactor at Chernoble was a bad copy of a GE plant from the 50’s that was built without most of its safety features. It still took the work of several idiots at the plant to cause an explosion.
    I want every person who decries electricity to go just one year without said luxury. Subsistence dirt farming leaves little time for the liberal arts.

  57. The link I posted in the other thread actually had good details regarding what happened at the plant.

  58. Late to the thread and off-topic as usual, but I gotta say that the link Joe posted in #22 is eye-opening. I had no idea that tentacle pr0n was such a time-honored art form in Japan.

  59. Pingback: Sigh (again)

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