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Reporting the Nuclear Crisis

I am sure many of you have been as glued to coverage as I have. here are a few good sources of information and some of the interesting stories.

All Things Nuclear: Insights on Science and Security

Maggie Koerth-Baker from Boing Boing Radiation: Dose and Risk

Japan braces for potential radiation catastrophe

Nuclear Meltdown Explained, and Everything Else You Need to Know About the Situation at Fukushima

Some of these have a solid liberal biase, but I am sure you can put that in perspective.

There seems to be a healthy debate as to whether we should be optomistic or pessimistic as we discuss the situation and if such a freak occurance is really something that shoudl impact US energy policy. I doubt panic will hurt more people than the radiation, and I think or energy policy is already effected as investors and insurance companies, and not public opinion will decide if more plants are built.



The underlying fact of nuclear power generation is that the resting state of a reactor is disaster. A plant requires constant attention to keep it from going out of control.

Leave a coal-fired plant alone and it gets cold. Leave a nuclear power plant alone and it produces armageddon.

This fact renders all debate about the safety of nuclear power ludicrous.


TEPCO, the utility company that operates the plants that are exploding, is who President Obama wants to build two new US reactors.

TEPCO has a long history of negligence and cover-ups, as does Stone & Webster, the American firm that will be helping with the two new reactors.

On March 11th, there was an interview with Robert Kelley, a nuclear engineer and a former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, at the CBC radio show As It Happens. For shits and giggles, someone listen to part one of the broadcast starting at around the 13:40 mark. I don't know if it's me, but I get the feeling there's something severely wrong with his take on the Fukushima facility.

Ah, regarding the "Some of these have a solid liberal biase" warning, it's all right Norm, we do the same thing visiting here, i mean filtering with our own prejudices ;-) i know i do! Still love your site though. PS : i live in Tokyo… good to come to a site where nobody in the comments is praying for us!

I saw that Reuters report this morning. With how fast this thing is progressing, I don't know what's what. Just saw a facebook post from my cousin from about 10 hours ago, who was like 200km south of Fukushima, and yesterday he said he was going to Kyoto. Now (10 hr ago) he says things are looking better.

I'm emailing with one friend in Chiba, and this morning she said there's no food or water in the stores.

Just found out that my uncle is about 65 km from the plant in Fukushima, in Ibaraki. I thought they were farther away, but for now there's no real danger for them. He also says there's no food though.

I would tell him to head further out while he has the coast is clear..

The U.S. official just said americans should evacuate 50 miles around the plant. and really, if you watch how chernobyl clouds moved, its pretty much a crap shoot where the radiation will go.

The reactors are deteriorating quickly and at some point they won't be able to get close enough to get water on the thing.

Apparently one reactor is already dry.

The govt will never get on the horn with the message "run for your life!"

Not to worry folks. Ann Coulter has just explained that radiation is good for us. "A Glowing Report on Radiation" 3/16/11 (

That was an interesting read. Not sure I'd take my medical advice from a polemicist, but she made some interesting points.

'Interesting' indeed.

Coulter said: Amazingly, even the Soviet-engineered disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 can be directly blamed for the deaths of no more than the 31 people inside the plant who died in the explosion...


To this, a reasonably informed person can say only: Bullshit!

First off: There weren't "31 people inside the plant who died in the explosion." Nobody died in the first explosion at Chernobyl. The number "31" comes from the number of workers and firefighters who died in the weeks that followed the Chernobyl disaster. What killed them? Radiation poisoning!

The firefighters arrived at the Chernobyl reactor well after the initial explosions, under the command of Lieutenant Volodymyr Pravik. Pravik died on May 11th of acute radiation poisoning. So did his subordinate, Victor Kibenok. Their friend, Vasyli Ignatenko, died two days later. Another fireman, Nikolai Tetanok, died three days after that. Almost all of the men who went near the reactor fire at Chernobyl died within a few months. Of the few who managed to last three or four years, most sloughed off their intestinal lining sometime in May, 1986. In medical circles, pooping out one's own guts is considered a sign of ill health.

I knew Ann Coulter was a rabble-rouser, but I didn't realize the extent to which her arrogance fuels her stupidity until I picked up Godless and looked through the anti-science dreck she vomited on the pages therein. Apparently she's suffering from Beck-envy and found it necessary to say something so incredibly stupid that she'd get some attention.

In the end, it's pathetic that we even feel it necessary to bother to comment on said inanities.. :(

Such is life in American which is so deeply and seemingly radically divided. On another blog I've manaaged to develop an on-line relationshop over the past five or six years with a conservative Marine (about my age, in his fifties) from South Carolina. I wish that this type of friendly and evolutionary exchange between people of radically opposing views was more common.


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