Saturday, March 12, 2011

Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/12/2011

Gates of Vienna News Feed 3/12/2011The daunting task of digging out from yesterday’s 8.9 earthquake in Japan has been made that much more difficult by the crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plants near Tokyo. The building housing one reactor and its containment facility exploded, and the cooling systems in all six reactors at the two plants have failed.

Japanese authorities believe that a partial meltdown has occurred at one of the reactors, and emergency measures are underway to try to cool all six reactors and prevent a Chernobyl-like explosion. Steam is being released on a controlled basis, which also causes radiation to escape into the atmosphere. 200,000 residents have been evacuated from an area within a 20-kilometer radius around the plants. About 160 people are thought to have been exposed to radiation, and emergency agencies are preparing to distribute potassium iodide pills, which are used to treat people for radiation exposure.

In other news, five members of an Israeli family in the West Bank, including both parents and two small children, were murdered in their home by Islamic terrorists. Two other children manage to escape. The freedom fighters of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claimed “credit” for the deed. Al-Aqsa is part of Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority.

To see the headlines and the articles, open the full news post.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, JD, JP, Kitman, Zenster, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Commenters are advised to leave their comments at this post (rather than with the news articles) so that they are more easily accessible.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.



Rule of Law? Ha!

rickl said...

I've spent much of the day reading several threads about the nuclear plant situation at Ace of Spades, and while there is plenty of confusing and contradictory information, it looks like there is little or no chance of a Chernoybl-like event.

First of all, the Chernoybl reactor lacked a proper containment vessel. It was a crude and primitive design. Practically every other reactor in the world has a containment structure, which is designed to contain the nuclear fuel even in the event of a meltdown.

They've had to release some radioactive steam to relieve pressure in the containment structure, but if this is done in a controlled manner the radiation will be dissipated in the atmosphere. They've also evacuated people living near the reactors as a precaution.

I've read that they're pumping sea water into at least one reactor, which is an indication that the reactor is damaged beyond repair and they've given up on being able to salvage and restart it. But it's not an indicator that a massive release of radiation is imminent.

I quit watching TV news after Election Night 2008, but from what I've been reading, they're in full Katrina hysteria mode. Next they'll be reporting that the nuclear plant workers have resorted to cannibalism.

It's worth noting that the earthquake and tsunami have killed thousands, probably tens of thousands. The nuclear plants haven't killed anybody yet.

Karl Denninger also has a good post up at the Market Ticker.

Beach Girl said...

I haven't read about the nuclear radiation event in Japan. Lived there for 4 years and with the tsunami and such, just can't add this tragedy to the rest of the "news". As an aside, the Japanese have an extraordinary hospital, research facility in Nagasaki where they have been studying the effects of radioactivity on folks for decades. Unless the exposure is direct, the long-term results of treatment seem to be good for the folks who are not severely exposed. And these containments did have the fuel protected. Sounds like the nuclear folks are taking it slow and calm and following their procedures for such events because believe me, they have procedures for everything that can happen, everything. God bless the folks and the families of the 9,550 or so people who have died from the tsunami. The Japanese are a tough culture and they are taught to be tough.
Seems like everywhere one looks the people of the world are facing crisis conditions. The Japanese will learn and research and benefit all of us. When I worked in nuclear power station, I had deepest respect for the animal known as "nuclear power." It can be our best friend but it must be handled carefully and the men and women who work in our plants are trained over and over again on scenarios that can happen. The training of our operators is intense and those folks have my respect.