Fukushima radiation threats and phoney maps

More on WHERE THE EYES OF THE WORLD ARE FOCUSED ON AT THIS HOUR! Namely, Tokyo Electric’s Fukushima Reactor.

The International Atomic Energy Association is rating the problem there as a ‘six’ on the scale of eight, where Chernobyl was an eight. (I said Chernobyl was a seven yesterday, but I was mistaken. [Update: no, IAEA said it was seven, and the other source was mistaken.)

Some clown had made up a phony map of the potential fallout from a Fukushima meltdown. It’s featured on Snopes, the site that debunks internet falsehoods and urban legends, so what does that tell you.

However, it does sound like there is a serious risk, or a chronic risk, coming from the plant, in that they have to keep the fire hoses running or the fuel rods will melt down. And so that doesn’t sound like “the situation is under control”, or “it’s under control as long as there is seawater”. It sounds like it is under control as long as they can battle the heat and radiation to get the fire hoses in to keep the rods cool. Once the rods aren’t cool, they warm up and that’s where the meltdown occurs.

So this is a real problem. And it happened because of the initial design of the reactor.

Every blogger likes to send you off to their favorable explanatory site, but I like the Christian Science Monitor had to say about it. I don’t remember them having to run fire hoses to Three Mile Island for weeks on end. We still talk about TMI, and the fact that Japan now has its own TMI means that people will be discussing it for some time to come.

Under control is relative in these black swan situations. The government wants everyone to think everything is under control because they don’t want mass panic. Probably everything is, in fact, under control in the sense that there hasn’t been a full-blown meltdown of the whole thing.

But ask yourself: would you be comfortable living in a house where you could see the towers of that plant off in the distance? No, right? Maybe even on a good day, never mind a crisis.

There are 55 of these all over Japan.

“Hey, no worries!” I don’t think so. I think it’s an issue that the Japanese are going to be addressing for the next 10 or 20 years.