Friday, March 18, 2011

Japan Nuclear Disaster Update & Strong Criticism of Western Media Sensationalism

The western media is having a field day with the nuclear accident in Japan. If you believe them, you'd think all of Japan were underwater and that we are all about to die. This sort of crass sensationalism is a damned disgrace and you should be very skeptical of what these idiots are telling you. The guys working in the news are wishing for big stories. If they can't get them, they make them.
Remember my Golden Rule about TV: "90% of everything you see on TV is bullshit; the other 10% are commercials."

Actually, it astounds me that people do accept what what the media says as gospel truth. Don't forget that this is the very same media that told us 3 years ago that Swine Flu was going to kill more than 50 million people worldwide. This was the same media that told us that the USA had to invade Iraq because of Saddam's nooklar weapons. This was the same media that told us that SARS also was a killer virus that was going to wipe out entire populations. This was the same media that told us that Bird Flu was going to do the same.

As of today, worldwide deaths from Swine Flu: 82. No nuclear weapons for Saddam (if he had any, do you really think we would have invaded Iraq?). Worldwide deaths from SARS: 100. Worldwide deaths from Bird Flu: 80. Don't even get me started on Man Made Global Warming!

Fact of the matter is that this is the same media who constantly exaggerates stories in order to sell advertising space to an extremely gullible public. When will people ever learn? If history is any example then the answer is: Never. They'll never learn.

Just wait a year or three for the next killer disease and we can start all over again. 

Now, I want to dissect and destroy one clown in particular who has been spreading wild misinformation about the nuclear accident in Fukushima. Mr. Gregory Jaczko head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Mr. Jaczko should resign his post immediately for incredibly irresponsible rumor mongering concerning a very serious situation. If anyone should be refraining from making wild , unfounded remarks, you'd think it would be the head of the NRC. But, no, I guess this guy is a good example of how people first got the idea of a stark raving mad scientist. I will print for you some of his comments then I will take them apart and show you what balderdash this is. You decide for yourself if this guy is rational or not.

Here are some of Mr. Jaczko's remarks from the NY Daily News:

"So much radiation may have leaked at the Fukushima Daiichi plant that workers may not be able to get close enough to fix it, said Gregory Jaczko, head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NCR)."
Are you kidding me? "So much radiation may have leaked?" Well, so much radiation may not have leaked. "Workers may not be able to get close enough to fix it." Well, workers may be able to get close enough to fix it... Hell, I may win the lottery one day if I keep buying lottery tickets. Ahem, don't look now but, if workers couldn't get close to the reactor, then why is it that two days ago there were only 50 workers at the plant, today there are 180?
"We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures," Jaczko said.
Here again he says something stupid again, "We believe that radiation levels are extremely high..." We believe? Really, Mr. Jaczko? You are the head of the NCR and you "believe"? Are you telling me that you are shooting off your mouth and you don't have any facts? How about facts? Here are the facts for you, sir.
He said all water had apparently boiled away from the cooling pool at Reactor No. 4, where 1,097 tons of spent fuel rods are stored.
Apparently!? Here he is completely talking out of his hat. When I first read this I searched the Japanese language news for this story. Couldn't find any verification of it at all. Now where did this dummy get this info? Obviously it's what he wants to believe. Well, I want to believe in the Easter Bunny too but he ain't turning into reality except in little children's minds.
"I hope my information is wrong. It's a terrible tragedy for Japan," Jaczko said.
Great. Just great Mr. Jaczko. You go and freak out a hundred thousand people and cause the US government and Japan millions of dollars in expenses and damages shooting off your mouth and you "hope your information is wrong"!? Well, I hope the Dodgers win the pennant this year. But, in my case, if they don't, at least the US taxpayer won't be on the hook. The only thing you've said so far that isn't stupid is "It's a terrible tragedy for Japan." Yes it is and there's a bunch of people without food and shelter. You blabbing this sensationalist crap is taking people's eyes off the real crisis on the ground. Those people need help.
Jaczko: "I believe the sky may be falling."

This guy just doesn't stop. Mr. Drama Queen, er, excuse me... Mr. Jaczko, please go on.
The L.A. Times Reports:

Gregory Jaczko, head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, says the crisis is worse than Japanese officials appear to be letting on. 'This is a situation where people may be called in to sacrifice their lives,' he says of the crew working there.

"...people may be called in to sacrifice their lives"? This guy has never worked as a fireman or a cop or in the military, has he? Nope. Just a politician whose never had a real job in his life.

-- As the crisis continues to unfold at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant, a growing disparity between Japanese and U.S. attitudes toward the problem is becoming apparent.

Whereas Japanese authorities have generally been restrained in their pronouncements about the risks, American officials are becoming increasingly vocal.

Yes. After the first two days of the Japanese government screwing things up with pronouncements  and then changing their story every two hours, they got smart and decided that, before they do make any announcements, they better have their facts straight and their act together. As opposed to the sensationalist western media that will print any old thing that fools like Gregory Jaczko "believe" or "believe may happen."

Japanese officials, for example, have consistently said the amount of radiation escaping from the damaged power plant remains relatively small. But on Wednesday, Gregory Jaczko, head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that he believes the spent fuel cooling pond atop reactor no. 4 at the facility about 150 miles north of 
Tokyo has boiled dry and that it is now spewing large amounts of radiation into the air.

Hell, I don't need to b-slap this guy here. I'll let the Associated Press do it. AP completely contradicts him:
A senior official with the U.N.'s nuclear safety agency said there had been "no significant worsening" at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant but that the situation remained "very serious." Graham Andrew told reporters in Vienna that nuclear fuel rods in two reactors were only about half covered with water, and in a third they were also not completely submerged.

Low levels of radiation have been detected well beyond Tokyo, which is 140 miles (220 kilometers) south of the plant, but hazardous levels have been limited to the plant itself. Still, the crisis triggered by last week's earthquake and tsunami has forced thousands to evacuate and drained Tokyo's normally vibrant streets of life, its residents either leaving town or holing up in their homes. 

Thanks AP... What the...What a minute! Now AP gets into the act of sensationalism too (just couldn't control yourselves, could you?) You guys make it sound like Tokyo is a ghost town; "...forced thousands to evacuate and drained Tokyo's normally vibrant streets of life, its residents either leaving town or holing up in their homes"? Where do you guys get this stuff? Yes. Some people have left. But even the Japanese elementary schools are open in Tokyo and the stores are pretty well stocked up with most foods. Life goes on in Tokyo pretty much the same. 

Finally, now, we can see the reason for Mr. Jazcko's increasingly wild and sensationalist claims. He is catching flak and needs to cover his ass: 

Once again, the AP reports:

It could take days and "possibly weeks" to get the complex under control, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jazcko said. He defended the U.S. decision to recommend a 50-mile evacuation zone for its citizens, a much stronger measure than Japan has taken.

Aha! Now we see the motivation for Mr. Jaczko to exaggerate and tell fibs. He is the one responsible for the US evacutating a 50 mile radius around the accident site. You can see that - from reading in between the lines - he is now taking criticism (deservedly so) for recommending a 50 mile evacuation zone. I'm sure there are other experts with much cooler heads who aren't panicking like the little girl Mr. Jaczko seems to be.

Japan's announced a few days ago that the evacuation zone would be 12 miles. Mr. Jaczko, on the other hand, should announce that he is evacuating his post immediately.


Finally, last but definitely not least, here is some great information from Professor Barry Brook. Brook is director of Climate Science at the University of Adelaide's Environment Institute. The UK Register reported.

Some of my favourite quotes:

"The situation with respect to the actual reactor cores at Fukushima
no longer appears to be causing huge concern."

"there is no sign of massive damage to the cores or release of
long-lived radioisotopes in significant quantities"

"The radiation near the reactors is mainly emitted by fast-decaying
isotopes in the steam which decay away within seconds or minutes of
being created. TEPCO admits that portions of fuel rod continue to be
uncovered at times, but residual heating levels in the fuel are now
hugely lower than they were in the days immediately after the quake
and the rods' heat-conducting alloy cladding helps transfer heat from
the exposed portions to the water."

"If someone can explain to me how those heavy particles, the heavy
metals and even the non-gaseous fission products can be carried over a
wide area, I'd like to hear it because I don't know a mechanism where
that could happen in these sort of reactors."

An especially enthusiastic thank you to Victor Vorski for this!


Anonymous said...

I have noticed that even the Anglo-American "alternative" media (in the USA, Canada, etc.) have been spinning the accident in fairly sensationalist terms.

I can't help but think there is some kind of geopolitical agenda driving this kind of media coverage in general--above and beyond the standard tabloid fearmongering to generate more viewers/readers or even legitimate concerns about public safety.

JT said...

I have actually heard most of what that guy is saying from actual Japanese news. NHK and TBS. My Japanese isn't very good, but I understand enough to get a grasp of the situation and NHK has english interpreters.

About the workers, they know they are risking their health, in the long term. I respect these men tremendously. I heard (didn't verify) someone say these men wanted to go help even if it kills them.

mike in tokyo rogers said...

Yep, JT. They did say that they would die before they'd let a disaster happen. These guys are heroes.

Anonymous said...

For the past few years, I've been working part-time as a rewriter for
an English-language news program at NHK, Japan's national broadcaster.
Since the quake hit on Friday, I've been called in nearly every day to
help out with their round-the-clock coverage of the disaster. In other
words, I've been right there as all the live reports have been coming
in. And not just from NHK's reporters, but from most of the global
news outlets as well. I get the feeling that much of the coverage
(including NHK's), especially of the nuclear issue, has been
needlessly alarmist. And also, perhaps unavoidably, simplistic. If I
were living overseas and relying on these reports for information, I'd
probably be scared shitless for "all those poor people in Japan." But
instead, things here in the Tokyo area are calm.

A quick example: a little while ago, CNN splashed on their main page a
story with the headline "US Charters Planes to Exit Citizens." This
was accompanied by a photo of people mobbing an airport ticket
counter. Any sensible person seeing this is left with the impression
that Americans in Japan are freaking out to such an extent that extra
planes have to be brought in to ferry them all out. It’s not until you
actually click the link and read the story that you see a spokesman
saying: "There are still commercial seats available out of Tokyo...
however, because we do not wish to consume large numbers of seats that others might need, we are making arrangements to bring a couple of chartered aircraft into Tokyo." Some story!
-Steve Trautlein

Anonymous said...

One for you Mike.

Ryan said...

and garbage like this report....

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