Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The media's 'Japan Syndrome' obsession

I dedicate this post to one of the great tribble friends, Daniel Beck, of the Hugh Hewitt radio show known on twitter as @gtb   He lives in Japan and talked to Hugh in the first hour on Monday's show..he is doing OK, just worried of course about his fellow countrymen.  Check out @gtb  profile on twitter.   Let us pray for Daniel and his family and all of the people of Japan!
Also, Hat tip to another great tribble friend @graphicdave  who along with @gtb  gave me the sites listed in this post.

While the media coverage of the Japan earthquake/tsunami has been for the most part very good and appropriate, there seems to have been recently an obsession of over reaction to the nuclear power plant 'melt downs'.  The media, who must be in complete support of ending once and for all the use of nuclear power for energy use in the United States,  has compared this to Chernobyl.
The Chernobyl disaster was a nuclear accident that occurred on 26 April 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian SSR (now Ukraine). It is considered the worst nuclear power plant accident in history, and it is the only one classified as a level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

But check this from the Wall Street Journal: Japan does not face another Chernobyl

None of this amounts to "another Chernobyl." The Chernobyl reactor had two crucial design flaws. First, it used graphite (carbon) instead of water to "moderate" the neutrons, which makes possible the nuclear reaction. The graphite caught fire in April 1986 and burned for four days. Water does not catch fire.
Second, Chernobyl had no containment structure. When the graphite caught fire, it spouted a plume of radioactive smoke that spread across the globe. A containment structure would have both smothered the fire and contained the radioactivity.

I pray and hope this is closer to the Three Mile Island accident on March 28, 1979 where in the end, the reactor was brought under control with zero deaths. Also, extensive investigations by both a presidential commission and the NRC, the Kemeny Commission Report concluded that "there will either be no case of cancer or the number of cases will be so small that it will never be possible to detect them. The same conclusion applies to the other possible health effects.

This from the  web site: some perspective on the Japan earthquake
The tremendous public unease over nuclear power shouldn’t be allowed to overpower the conclusion: nuclear energy, in all the years leading to the crisis and continuing during it, is absurdly safe.  

From the BraveNewClimate web site: Fukushima Nuclear accident: a simple explanation
Now, where does that leave us? 
  • The plant is safe now and will stay safe.
  • Japan is looking at an INES Level 4 Accident: Nuclear accident with local consequences. That is bad for the company that owns the plant, but not for anyone else.                   

The Investor's Business Daily makes a great point in their article: Don't take nukes off the table
After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Japanese had as much reason to loathe nuclear power as anybody. Yet they built their reactors because they and their economy needed the energy. And, as proved over and over, wealthier societies are healthier societies. Nuclear power has increased Japan's standard of living and lowered its fossil-fuel pollution.
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Let's think about this.    If, as we all hope and pray, that  after a record breaking 9.0 earthquake and a tsunami, the nuclear power plants can contain the nuclear radiation where this is a Three Mile Island disaster and not a Chernobyl, then isn't that a case for nuclear energy and not against?

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