or, Why Everything I Knew
Nuclear Is Now Divided I
nto 'Before and After This Video
Ever since the nuclear situation in Japan became, uh, ...critical, I have adopted this motto:
WARNING: RANT, NEXT FEW PARAGRAPHS.
The Fukoshima Dai-ichi Nuclear Crisis: think you know what's really happening? Many people, including, unfortunately, the ones we depend on for news in a crisis, think they do and actually don't. Most of the rest know they don't and want your undivided attention anyway -- any way they can get it.
Sounds like news. Leaves me numb or panicky. The underlying logic to what the news chooses to sho, what to hide, and when, is neither sound nor transparent.
At a time when we are surely in sore need of both.
Instead of understanding we are left counting on a memorized set of associative triggers, perhaps even vaguely understood causal relationships, a litany inducing fear with every new report.
Increasingly, to this untrainned eye at leaast, authoritative sources appeared to be doing nothing so much as stalling, saving face, covering ass, or (worst of all) lying outright. For example, what's this I heard -- heralded as good news in the midst of this nightmare -- about reactors #1, #2, and #3 (the ones that were running when the quake hit) being in "cold shutdown"? Saw it at Boing Boing, and verified it (like Boing suggested, but I would have anyway) again over at the IAEA site. Cold shutdown, 1, 2, 3, & 4 on the way. Can't get better than that. Don't have to worry about them anymore, case closed.
Japanese authorities yesterday reported to the IAEA at 20:05 UTC that the reactors Units 1, 2 and 3 of the Fukushima Daini nuclear power plant are in cold shutdown status. This means that the pressure of the water coolant is at around atmospheric level and the temperature is below 100 °C. Under these conditions, the reactors are considered to be safely under control.
Japanese authorities have also informed the IAEA that teams of experts from Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the plant's operator, are working to restore cooling in the reactor Unit 4 and bring it to cold shutdown.
This was before I saw the Rachel Maddow video above -- so I didn't know that freaking out in advance about 5 and 6 was not unnecessary; they hadn't been a problem, so things were finally better. Right?
I take a nap, I wake up, and what the hell? what the fuck!
The IAEA Incident and Emergency Centre (IEC) continues to monitor the status of the nuclear power plants in Japan that were affected by the devastating earthquake and consequent tsunami.
All units at the Fukushima Daini, Onagawa, and Tokai nuclear power plants are in a safe and stable condition (i.e. cold shutdown).
The IAEA remains concerned over the status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, where sea water injections to cool the reactors in Units 1, 2 and 3 are continuing. Attempts to return power to the entire Daiichi site are also continuing.
After explosions at both Units 1 and 3, the primary containment vessels of both Units are reported to be intact. However, the explosion that occurred at 21:14 UTC on 14 March at the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 may have affected the integrity of its primary containment vessel. All three explosions were due to an accumulation of hydrogen gas.
A fire at Unit 4 occurred on 14 March 23:54 UTC and lasted two hours. The IAEA is seeking clarification on the nature and consequences of the fire.
Did they say meltdown or shutdown a few hours ago? (Unintelligible thinly veiled rebuke from te media aimed at freaked out rumour-spreading quote bloggers unquote). Oh, silly me. "Cold SHUTdown," of course: (I nod my head -- must be a standard industry term for a nuclear situation characterized by rising tempeeratures and breaches of containment vessels significant enough to require the built up radioactive gases to forcibly be vented aloft -- a hot open up).
Ahem. But seriously, Gentle Reader, I could tell Rachel Maddow was the first source to ever explain the situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi, ACTUALLY explain it, because now, everything else makes a different kind of sense. It could be because she herself actually understands what she is reporting about. If she doesn't, she is clear that she doesn't, and seeks first to understand rather than to seem knowledgeable.... an honorable trait, unfortunately rare even in its nascent form. Thank you, Rachel.*