More stupidity about Fukushima

The Fukushima stuff was all very exciting, and doubtless still is if you live nearby (James?). But it does seem to lead to high levels of drivel from the more soppy-hand-wringing Guardianista types:

We had a pretty good warning earlier this year, when the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused an even bigger tragedy when the Fukushima nuclear power plant suffered a meltdown

The tsunami killed 20k people, or whatever. Fukushima killed no-one, directly, though it wouldn’t be surprising if it kills a few eventually. So why was Fukushima an “even bigger tragedy”? Perhaps Kate Sheppard is really really sad that it harmed the image of nukes, and values that image more highly than peoples lives?

But more likely she just wanted some cheap fodder for an article without actually troubling to think at any point. h/t to Timmy.

[Update: I’m still with my, and Timmy’s, reading of the piece. But for the sake of fairness I should say that KS has turned up in the comments and interprets her words differently – see there.

And updated to add the pic, prompted by a comment by RP at KK’s place -W]

Pop, pop, pop

nuke Nukes in Japan are going off like badly-racked champagne bottles, and the only thing fiercer than the radiation levels is the press circus (I liked that as a sort of simile-thingy, but actually at the moment the radiation levels aren’t desperately fierce). How do you folks without blogs manage to bottle up your excitement without writing stuff? Perhaps you actually talk to people, how last-century. Anyway, taking advantage of a brief surge of SB uptime (still dunno what is going on, some people don’t see any problem, but it was down for me all last night):

Some people are using the disaster to stick the knife into nukes. Like Roland Nelles in Der Spiegel. These people are clearly just using the disaster to push their own agenda, which is reprehensible but unsurprising.

But even those pro-nuke are saying that the situation has changed now: what was formerly trivial (in terms of radiation release) is now unclear (Timmy makes some good points about the radiation just outside the plant (what from, exactly) and the possibility of garbling). But, depending on how this pans out, Timmy may have been talking bollocks about the Grauniad talking bollocks. Or maybe he was right. It is too early to tell.

But… suppose what we actually cared about in all of this, was saving people’s lives, in the future (obviously that *isn’t* what people care about: there is a frenzy of axe-grinding and entertainment-disguised-as-news going on, mostly). Then, we’d look at where all the dead people are, now: washed up on various beaches it seems (in Japan, of course; and this may even be one of those very rare disasters that kills more people than car accidents do. If we were actually looking at saving people globally, we’d feed-the-poor, or educate them, or stop their own governments killing them. But that makes the problem too complex, so lets restrict ourselves to Japan). In which case, the clear answer is: people should live in high-rise concrete blocks, not in cute traditional wooden houses.

As to “The earthquake in Japan is emerging as a decisive turning point in the history of nuclear technology” I am beginning to hope that may well be true: that people will see that the plant survived rather well against a quake 7 times bigger than it was built to handle [note: see comment: this has been challenged], and after the hysterical over-reaction (in which wazzocks like Roland Nelles completely blow their credibility) maybe a counter-reaction will set in.

[Update: the SB downtime looks to be some kind of incompetent medical-spam attack from Turkey and Qatar, according to internal feedback. There are rangeblocks put in place to prevent this, that may have unintended targets -W]

Refs

* Radiation falls at Japanese plant – the story at 5 pm.
* Transcript of what John Beddington said (via PW)
* Coal Ash Is More Radioactive than Nuclear Waste (SciAm) ”By burning away all the pesky carbon and other impurities, coal power plants produce heaps of radiation”