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Japanese Now Put Fukushima At Level 5

From the Agence France-Presse:

Japan agency hikes Fukushima accident level to 5


OSAKA, Japan (AFP) – Japan’s nuclear safety agency on Friday raised the Fukushima crisis level to five from four on the international scale of gravity for atomic accidents, which goes to as high as seven.

The decision by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) puts Fukushima on the same level as the 1979 accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania and makes it the worst ever in Japan.

And never mind that Three Mile Island was more news media hysteria than anything else.

A spokesman for the agency said it had alerted the IAEA on its decision, which was made due to the condition of reactors one, two and three at the plant stricken by last week’s massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated swathes of northeastern Japan.

"The cooling function was lost and the reactor cores were damaged. Radioactive particles continue to be released in the environment," he said…

Authorities have since struggled to keep fuel rods inside reactors and fuel storage containment pools under water. If they are exposed to air, they could degrade further and emit large amounts of dangerous radioactive material.

Once again it should be noted that the real problem is the spent fuel rods in the storage containment pools. And not the previously active rods in the reactor itself. But our media seem determined to blur the distinction.

France’s Nuclear Safety Authority rates the Fukushima crisis at six on the scale. The Chernobyl disaster is put at seven, the highest

The French Nuclear Safety Authority panicked and put Fukushima at six three days ago, back on March 15th. And our mainstream media ran with the story non-stop.

Still, you have to wonder, what level would a ‘China Syndrome’ be? An eleven out of seven?

Level 3 indicates a "serious incident" according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) scale, while level four means there has been an "accident with local consequences."

The March 28, 1979 accident at Three Mile Island was a partial reactor meltdown that led to "very small" releases of radioactivity, according to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

It caused no casualties, but was rated five on the scale, corresponding to "an accident with wider consequences."

Yes, and the "wider consequences" are that we have had no nuclear power plants built ever since Three Mile Island. Which means we must rely on plants built forty years ago for our nuclear power.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, March 18th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Japanese Now Put Fukushima At Level 5”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Not only is the news media pumping up the hysteria, they are exceedingly maladroit at anything technical. Anything having to deal with science, in any way, is so incomprehensible to a reporter (which is why they became reporters to begin with…math was “too hard” and “not fun”) that they are at the mercy of the very information they are charged with reporting. Not only do they not get smart on it, they often ask “experts” (who are sometimes even less informed than the reporter) who feed them garbage or the wrong data. Often, said “experts” are nothing of the kind; They are political hacks with an agenda to grind.

    The second part of the equation is that the listeners/readers who are also very technically crippled, believe the hogwash and disseminate same in their local workplaces. Of course, the same could be said for most any news but it’s especially counter-productive when it comes to the technical. The average person who hated science and math in school, (ie: Michael Moore) loves to appear technically able and smart and then makes a complete boob of himself except when talking to similarly-minded people. As long as it sounds technical and the person can string some words together, the general population gobbles it up. (Or is it “Goebbels” it up?)

  2. GetBackJack says:

    Considering that the designer and engineer of the core containment vessel of Reactor #4 wrote a book in 1990 – I learned today – that in manufacturing the vessel it warped and was unsuitable for operating in a nuclear plant, I’d hazard a guess that a China Syndrome is precisely what’s possible. I’ve said all along the actions surrounding this event strike me more as a breach of the core containment than a problem just with “cooling water”.

    No one here, or in the media has been there and peered inside. Let me say this very clearly …. none of us have any idea what’s actually going on. You don;’ know … I don’t know.

    What I do know for certain is that the history of governments and those who, like royal court lackeys, suck up to the power of government … lie. Lie relentlessly, lie all the time, lie everyday about everything even when a lie isn’t called for.


    Several aphorisms serve me well. The first is always and will always be FOLLOW THE MONEY. The second is NEVER BELIEVE ANYTHING UNTIL ITS OFFICIALLY DENIED.

    Since I know how government works … they lie …. and obeying the irrefutable wisdom of Aphorism #2 … since the government of Japan keeps assuring us a China Syndrome meltdown is not possible … then I am inclined to assess the calculus of this situation as a China Syndrome event is EXACTLY what they’re working to prevent, and losing that battle.

    • tranquil.night says:

      I’m not there yet, but the flow of information has become really eratic. It’s very suspicious that the situation was upgraded to 5 because of reactors 1-3 when we know that the reported fire at #4 is when radiation levels in the area started jumping and information became sketchy. The original news was that #4 was offline for maintenance when the disaster hit.

      According to the PM, when the outer structure blew at #3 it caused a roof fire at #4 which apparently has somehow caused a containment breach and caused dormant and spent fuel rods to oxidize, ignite, and evaporate their whole pool?

      Ugh, there’s enough wild speculation as it is though, you’re right. The media already has this pinned to a nuclear industry conspiracy.

    • Georgfelis says:

      IIRC, one of the designers/engineers for the original Mark I boiling water nuke plant which these Japanese reactors are based on, wrote a critique/book of the reactor design detailing several design flaws and proposed corrections, which were implemented in the design of this plant before construction. As newly built plants are using the Mark 4 design, which is several orders of magnitude safer, we should be good on the hundreds of new reactor construction projects the Obama administration has approved….Oh wait, make that two. Both of which were approved before he took office.

      Admittedly the situation at the Japanese reactor could get worse, but since they have the lights back on and started to pump water into the reactors, the potential for a Godzilla-like result has dropped to highly-unlikely. Despite the fervent prayers of the environmentalists, an earthquake far above what was estimated for the area, and a tsunami, there will be no smoking hole in the ground to use as demagogue bait for the foreseeable future.

      XKCD has a very good thumbnail sketch of the relative risks of the radiation released by this plant. As it stands now, the reporters flown to the scene from the US will absorb more radiation from the airplane flight than from the reactor.

  3. proreason says:

    I keep losing track.

    How many people have died in the nuclear crisis so far?

    • GetBackJack says:

      Pro – you strike me as a man who remembers when the Desert Inn had suites facing north so guests could watch the nuclear tests fire off from the comfort of their room, with air conditioning and a Mai Tai.

    • proreason says:

      I was kicked out of the Desert Inn once for counting cards. First they threw their chinese women dealers at me and I was still holding my own, so they banned me. That was before shoes made it possible for only teams to beat them.

  4. GetBackJack says:

    (me, grinning)

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