If you'll pardon and bear with me for a moment, I'd like to say something about the aftermath of the disaster in Japan and how people across the world are viewing it.
Despite the catastrophic loss of life from the earthquake and tsunami centering in the area around Sendai, in Miyagi prefecture of Japan, world media continues to focus on the situation at a nuclear power plant which has so far accounted for little damage outside of the buildings housing the reactors. These buildings aren't even designed to contain radiation - there are other shields for that - but are meant to just keep the reactors enclosed and the weather out.
I've just been reading through an informative article about nuclear reactors and the Fukushima 1 plant in an attempt to educate myself, which you can also find at http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/03/13/fukushima-simple-explanation/
. At the end of the most recently updated article is a message from a nuclear research scientist which I believes sums up the situation very well, and I will repost here:
"The lesson so far
: Japan suffered an earthquake and tsunami of unprecedented proportion that has caused unbelievable damage to every part of their infrastructure, and death of very large numbers of people. The media have chosen to report the damage to a nuclear plant which was, and still is, unlikely to harm anyone. We won’t know for sure, of course, until the last measure to assure cooling is put in place, but that’s the likely outcome. You’d never know it from the parade of interested anti-nuclear activists identified as “nuclear experts” on TV.
From the early morning Saturday nuclear activists were on TV labelling this ‘the third worst nuclear accident ever’. This was no accident, this was damage caused by truly one of the worst of earthquakes and tsunamis ever. (The reported sweeping away of four entire trains, including a bullet train which apparently disappeared without a trace, was not labelled “the third worst train accident ever.”) An example of the reporting: A fellow from one of the universities, and I didn’t note which one, obviously an engineer and a knowlegable one, was asked a question and began to explain quite sensibly what was likely. He was cut off after about a minute, maybe less, and an anti-nuke, very glib, and very poorly informed, was brought on. With ponderous solemnity, he then made one outrageous and incorrect statement after another. He was so good at it they held him over for another segment
The second lesson is to the engineers: We all know that the water reactor has one principal characteristic when it shuts down that has to be looked after. It must have water to flow around the fuel rods and be able to inject it into the reactor if some is lost by a sticking relief valve or from any other cause – for this, it must have backup power to power the pumps and injection systems.
The designers apparently could not imagine a tsunami of these proportions and the backup power — remember, the plants themselves produce power, power is brought in by multiple outside power lines, there are banks of diesels to produce backup power, and finally, banks of batteries to back that up, all were disabled. There’s still a lot the operators can do, did and are doing. But reactors were damaged and may not have needed to be even by this unthinkable earthquake if they had designed the backup power systems to be impregnable, not an impossible thing for an engineer to do. So we have damage that probably could have been avoided, and reporting of almost stunning inaccuracy and ignorance.Still, the odds are that no one will be hurt from radioactivity — a few workers from falling or in the hydrogen explosions, but tiny on the scale of the damage and killing around it.
It seems pathetic that Russia should be the only reported adult in this — they’re quoted as saying “Of course our nuclear program is not going to be affected by an earthquake in Japan.” Japan has earthquakes. But perhaps it will be, if the noise is loud enough. "
Please join me in attempting to appreciate and sympathize with the true disaster in Japan and which has affected the livelihood of everyone there, and not continue to give credence to a story activists are flocking to in order to promote their political agendas.
If you would like to do more to directly help Japan and its people, I'll also forward a link to a site which has been created in support of Japan's Red Cross association. This was brought to my attention in one of the blogs of our favorite Hello! Project girls as they do the best they can to help as much as they can as well.http://www.google.co.jp/intl/en/crisisresponse/japanquake2011.html
Thank you and please keep the Japanese people all across the country who have been either directly affected by the quake and tsunami, or with industry shutdowns and power conservation efforts, in your thoughts during these trying days.