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Nuclear engineer tells us all to stop panicking about the nuclear plant in Japan and concentrate on helping those who have lost their homes and loved ones (not to mention people in Christchurch in the same situation):

I hadn't actually realised this was one of the 10 most powerful earthquakes EVER RECORDED. Jesus. If that article is true, I am really impressed with the engineers who built the thing. To be that robust is downright amazing.

What do the engineers (and non-engineers) think? I agree that comparisons with Chernobyl are insulting, given that the latter resulted from extremely negligent and stupid behaviour followed by downright criminal concealment of what was going on...

Date: 2011-03-17 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
6th most powerful quake ever recorded according to a physicist friend!

The reactors have done what it said on the tin in terms of safety stuff. They'll be little further use, but the wilder media panic is just that- panic mongering.

Date: 2011-03-19 10:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The media get far too worked up when the N word appears.

There has been a massive disaster in Japan. Why are we so panicked about the details of this reactor which may or may not get worse when there really is vast amounts of horrible things that have actually happened that would have, I would have thought, deserved far more column inches.

Most power plants have safety implications.
Nuclear undergo 'meltdown' (which is quite inspecific in terms of the impact to the public. It really just means you get a hole in some protective lining. It can be the size of a pinhole and result in practically no radiation release)
Gas can explode
Hydroelectric can flood.
The Chernobyl death toll came in at around 4000 (And it was a bad accident)
The Japanese reactor looks like it will be much less serious. Compare this to the (probable) 10000+ deaths from the Tsunami.

Date: 2011-03-19 01:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's not remotely as serious as the earthquake and tsunami, and as nuclear power is probably doomed to a minority role by a surfeit of expense and an undersupply of reliability, it won't make much difference there either. As I saw pointed out recently, the cost of renewables is still falling and the cost of nuclear power's still rising.

It'll be interesting to see who bears the cleanup cost. Plant operators have historically been very good at shifting that sort of thing onto governments.


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