Anorak | Fukushima Is Only Another Chernobyl For Lazy Journalists

Fukushima Is Only Another Chernobyl For Lazy Journalists

by | 18th, March 2011

TWO things have intervened in the media coverage of the Japanese nuclear plant crisis to make it misleading to the point of incomprehensible, writes Richard North.

The one is the frequent use of the Chernobyl disaster as a comparator, where there are absolutely no comparisons with the incident at Fukushima. The second is the childish refrain of “meltdown” by scientifically and technically illiterate journalists, who seem to be incapable of understanding what is happening, yet seem determined to spread their own incomprehension far and wide.

Fortunately, a little clarity is beginning to emerge, although few press reports are without errors which could so easily mislead unless one already has a firm grasp of the basics.

Thus, I am in a position of eating humble pie, having assumed that the earthquake disaster was one which the MSM was best equipped to handle. On balance, as it has fallen prey to extravagant scaremongering, it has done an execrable job. One article worth reading is  this one in the  New York Times , and  this one in the  Guardian . Then, with very great caution, as it is littered with errors, they the  Reuters report and then have a look at  this one .

Culling the detail from these, it would appear that the crisis now rests not with the reactors  per se but with the “pools” in the reactor buildings used to store spent fuel rods. The storage pool in reactor 4, is said to be completely empty, and the Japanese workers are focused efforts on the storage pool at reactor 3, for reasons which do not seem to be entirely clear.

It is this pool, in reactor three, on which helicopter crews and teams of police officers in water cannon trucks, together with fire trucks, have been trying to direct water, in an attempt to “douse overheating fuel rods”. Storage pools at reactors 5 and 6 are also said to be leaking.

Now, as to the dangers, “meltdown” is not an issue. The great danger is that the spent fuel as the water evaporates or leaks away will overheat to such an extent that they catch fire. The emission of combustion products could release huge amounts of

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Posted: 18th, March 2011 | In: News Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink