'Fukushima crisis eerily similar to 1979 Three Mile Island accident'
Richard Thornburgh gives the Japanese a little leeway, because they got hit by a big quake and tsunami. I don't really understand why people keep acting like this is unexpected. It's never been a secret that Japan gets hit by big quakes and it will continue to get hit. It's no secret that tsunamis can be generated by big quakes.
Japan rolled the dice and lost. The politicians, bankers and General Electric chose to look at profits and National Pride and let those concerns, override the safety concerns. This happens all the time. It's the way humans do things. We push limits until we have a disaster. Then we back off for a while and repeat with the next generation.
Anyone who can do simple statistical calculations knows that big events will occasionally happen. They are not unexpected. People have expected a big earthquake and tsunami to hit Japan, for as long as people have understood the relationship. After all, it's happened before and it will happen again.
The folks who built the first plant forty years ago, did Ok. They were betting that the disaster wouldn't happen on their watch. They rolled the dice and won. It's a sure bet that this was going to happen. It was just impossible to predict which generation would have to deal with it. And that lack of predictability is enough to create enough doubt, that safety concerns can be ignored.
I hope that Japan can get these reactors under control and prevent these plants from turning into radioactive geysers. I'm scared for the people of Japan because the situation looks dire to me. I've learned that the seawater being pumped into the cores is turning into steam. This could lead to salt building up, and insulating the core from cooling. I hope that the pressure spray from the steam is preventing this, and blowing the radioactive salts out of the core. I don't know enough to know if this is happening.
If the salts are building up, then I fear a complete meltdown is just a matter of time.
Karl Denninger on Market Watch is making the claim that if all 21 reactors meltdown, the USA will be fine. From the sound of his argument I think he's arguing that the surface area of the USA is big enough, that if spread out, the radiation dose per acre will be small. But the weather and plumes don't work that way. Material carried by the wind from the Pacific, precipitates as rain and snow in the Rockies. the Western Watershed could become dangerously polluted by the plumes and wipe out a good amount of the USA's food supply.
Knowing our USDA / FDA though, the government will lie and declare radioactive vegetables and milk as safe to eat. We can guess that, like with the Gulf Of Mexico, they'll implement a smell test. If you can't smell the radiation, then it's safe to eat...