Not Film Related: On Japan’s Nuclear Meltdowns

Posted: March 16, 2011 in Joe Giambrone
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Nuclear EmergencyAre we allowed to type the “T” word when the culprit is a corporate / capitalist entity?

How about when a government colludes with the terrorists in order to hoist nuclear Swords Of Damocles up over our heads?

If we’re forced to play Russian Roulette, does that count as terrorizing?

I guess the real world terror of radiation poisoning and cancer doesn’t count as the highly-branded “Terror (TM)” terror.  If you can’t bomb some foreigners in the bargain why waste the ink?

We have to call it something else.

Massive stupidity comes to mind.  Criminal greed.

And what of the non-stop lies we get from the Mainstream Media and their allegedly unpaid “experts” who paint smiley faces on the exploding nuke plants?  So many “experts” on nuclear issues come out of the woodwork and so fast.

These self-styled expert-like people have no idea what’s actually going on inside the reactors. The Japanese don’t even know!  Yet they assure us repeatedly how it can’t possibly be that harmful — and even if it is, so are lots of other things — so, “Naaa!”

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.
–Albert Einstein

I keep recalling Einstein’s famous quote, because I keep coming across these situations that warrant it.  First there was the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico by British Petroleum and their friends (in the White House).  Now it’s the U.S. Department of Energy shamelessly prostituting for the nuke sugar daddies even as Japan is poised to go up in a radioactive cloud.

Oh yes, it could still happen.  It is — four days later — not “under control” at multiple reactors.  Yet the head of the DOE stood up and shilled for Big Nuke   — again — even as investors around the world have acquired half a clue, and are running from Godzilla as fast as their brokers will permit.   Meanwhile solar, wind and natural gas shares are surging ahead (Marketwatch) .

The nation’s top Energy Clown Stephen Chu said Tuesday:

…whenever there is a reactor near a (potential) earthquake site, we look to what’s the maximum size of that particular earthquake that geologists (say) can ever happen, and we design considerably above that. (CNN)

So, even as multiple Japanese reactors built by General Electric with the same design used on 23 plants operating in the US today literally explode on live TV, we are told that nothing like that could happen here.   Go back to sleep.   Geologists said we’re just fine.   Right?

It should be noted that these 23 excruciatingly badly designed nuke plants are Stephen Chu’s responsibility as head of the Department of Energy, while parroting nuclear industry propaganda is technically not Mr. Chu’s responsibility.   It’s not supposed to be, anyway.

The reactor at Diablo Canyon in Southern California   was built to withstand a 7.5 magnitude earthquake (Reuters).   Anything larger, then all bets are off.   The quake that hit Japan last week was a 9.0 or roughly 50 times greater movement than a 7.5 on the Richter scale.

Not to disappoint his campaign donors, their president Obama responded Tuesday:

Nuclear plants are designed to withstand certain levels of earthquakes, but having said that, nothing’s completely failsafe, nothing is completely foolproof, and so each time these kinds of events happen, I think it’s very important for us to examine how we can further improve the safety and performance of these plants.”
–Barack Obama, March 15, 2011 (CBS)

No, Mr. Obama.   The correct end of the sentence is: “”it’s very important for us to shut down these unsafe and unhealthy relics of the past and usher in a new age of clean, safe technologies.”

Things have gone from bad to worse, to worserer at the Japanese sites.   One of the problems is that the plants seem to have been designed expressly to hide the spent fuel pools from the public, and they are located directly above the reactors themselves and under the roofs that have since exploded from the hydrogen gas build ups.

The spent fuel rods are arguably far worse of a hazard than the reactors themselves!   If they go dry, these hot waste products ignite on their own and spew cesium-137 into the atmosphere.

Robert Alvarez, a senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary from 1993 to 1999, writes:

Particularly worrisome is the large amount of cesium-137 in fuel ponds, which contain anywhere from 20 to 50 million curies of this dangerous radioactive isotope. With a half-life of 30 years, cesium-137 gives off highly penetrating radiation and is absorbed in the food chain as if it were potassium.

In comparison, the 1986 Chernobyl accident released about 40 percent of the reactor core’s 6 million curies ” a major release of cesium-137 from a pool fire could render an area uninhabitable greater than created by the Chernobyl accident.

Tuesday afternoon, after Chu and Obama made what should be impeachable statements of utter incompetence, we have confirmation of the unthinkable:

Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, said the fire was at its No. 4 reactor, where an earlier blaze in a nuclear fuel storage pond Tuesday exposed fuel rods and spewed radioactivity into the air. The utility said the original fire had not been fully extinguished and had flared anew in the outer housing of the reactor’s containment vessel. [emphasis added]
USA Today

The USA Today piece predictably avoids the cesium-137, the 20-50 million Curies and the comparison with Chernobyl, opting instead for the vague term “radiation,” which apparently sells better.   It’s better not to know, huh?

Another facet to this disaster is that the pumps began failing, which means failing to provide cooling water to the reactors.   If the reactors are not cooled constantly then they melt down and burn through their concrete containment vessels down into the earth, until they reach the water table below and the radioactive steam beneath explodes and spews radioactive gases uncontrollably: the China Syndrome.

Fools masquerading as “experts” were hyper-confident about the Japanese reactor situations as simultaneously we learned:

“Here [at the No. 2 reactor] pumps feeding in seawater failed, causing water levels to drop.

This exposed fuel rods, allowing them to overheat. Water flow was initially restored, then failed again, exposing the fuel rods for a second time.”
The Australian

So, the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, perhaps millions, dangle on the reliability of a couple of water pumps and valves that have just been through an earthquake, a tsunami and a hydrogen gas explosion.   Yet, the so-called “experts” who are called up by the corporate press to provide information to the American masses can easily rattle off their 100% assurances that it’s all fine and well.   And they do it with a straight face.

Is there an acting school the “experts” go through?   A training course of some sort?   What’s the pay?

The next imbecile who tells you that we cannot manage without nuclear power, punch the jerk in the face.

Unnecessary?

Yes.  Just like nuclear energy.   But I guess it has its own rewards.
Joe Giambrone is a novelist and filmmaker who moved to Redding Ca to hopefully get away from all this nuclear insanity.   He’s at polfilmblog — a t — gmail — dot — com.

 

Additional:

Harvey Wasserman discusses the Japan disaster.

 

Take Action:

President Obama: Reverse your support of risky nuclear power

Public Citizen: Halt New Reactors

 

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