Friday, April 1, 2011

Japan Nuclear Holocaust?: The Scorecard so Far (Part Two)

This is part two of a series concerning the nuclear disaster in Japan - Well, not really in Japan, it's more in the tabloid and newsrooms around the world that desperately need to do something to keep their geriatric audience glued to the screens. You can read part one here.
The UK tech publication The Register fills us in on the crisis on the ground with a new article entitled: Fukushima Fearmongers are Stealing our Jetsons Future - Hysteria Now Completely Disconnected from Reality:

As the situation at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear powerplant slowly winds down, the salient facts remain the same as they have been throughout: nobody has suffered or will suffer any radiological health consequences.

The situation being as it may, the article goes on to talk about the continuing shock, panic and hysteria that still exists in Japan's nuclear no-man's news-land. The article continues:

Three workers who suffered noticeable but not dangerous radiation doses from standing ankle-deep in radioactive water – and possible minor burns equivalent to a mild case of sunburn – have been confirmed to have suffered no ill effects. Their "hospitalisation with radiation burns" was widely reported: the fact that they are – as was to be expected – perfectly fine was not.

Plant owner TEPCO has now decided to cut its losses, however, stating that it now considers that reactors 1 to 4 at the site will have to be written off: being near the end of their planned lives anyway, it makes no sense to spend much money on fixing them. The other two Daiichi reactors, Nos 5 and 6, were brought safely into a cold shutdown condition early on and TEPCO still expects to continue operations with these (as would be quite normal: both Chernobyl and Three Mile Island continued in operation as nuclear power stations following the incidents there).

It's true. These reactors were slated for decommissioning at the end of March 2011 anyway... But the closing was delayed by the "Good ol' boys" at TEPCO and the Japanese government.

So goodbye yellow brick road....

But wait a minute, Mike! (I can hear you say!) What about that deadly Plutonium? Oh, yeah, about that. The Register talks about that too (complete with funny headline):

PLUTONIUM FOUND AT FUKUSHIMA!! Probably from old weapons tests thousands of miles away, but hey, let's wet ourselves anyway

There has also been heavy reporting in the press regarding the discovery of very small amounts of plutonium isotopes at the site – producing less than one Becquerel of radioactivity per kilo of soil. (For context the human body naturally emits radiation around 50 Bq/kg). This is utterly insignificant in a health context but is possibly indicative of fuel damage in the cores – if the isotopes did in fact come from the cores. The levels in three of the five samples are so low, and of such isotopes, that it is quite possible they result from long-ago nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific. Two other samples contain some plutonium-238, a clue that they may be from the no 3 reactor which had plutonium in its fuel.
"[Those two samples] could possibly come from the accident," TEPCO spokespersons told World Nuclear News.

Often these facts have been reported in such a way as to suggest that the Fukushima events have led to contamination levels similar to those following nuclear weapons tests, which is utterly untrue.

So, folks. There you have it. Your update. It's not as exciting as nuclear death or as exciting as three headed beings, but so far the scorecard is:

Deaths from nuclear accident................................ 0
Missing from nuclear accident............................... 0
Deaths from earthquake and tsunami.....(over) 10,000
Missing from earthquake and tsunami....(over) 17,480

There was one death from the nuclear site but that was caused when a crane operator died when his crane tipped over... It had nothing to do with radiation...Yes. There's been a real disaster. But you'll find little of it being reported in the MSM... Starving children and people living in shelters and squalor don't make for interesting news to people living the way the media says they should in a consumer society.

Thanks to Victor Vorski


Anonymous said...

Official reports are 2 dead and 6 injured so far...

mike in tokyo rogers said...

The two dead died from the Tsunami on 3/11. The 6 injured have all been released from the hospital with no complications. Check your facts please.

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