Saturday, March 12, 2011

Extremely Bad Things, Too

スリーマ イル 島 (*)

(* Three Mile Island, Again)

The New York Times reports this morning that at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on Japan's northwest coast, damaged by Wednesday's 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunamis, an explosion "blew the roof off one building and destroyed the exterior walls of a crippled reactor, escalating the emergency confronting Japan after a huge earthquake and tsunami destroyed parts of the country’s northeastern coast on Friday."

The front page of the NYT online ran the headline, "Radiation Leaks Said to Recede After Blast at Japan Nuclear Plant". This is much like saying the radioactive horse is out of the barn, but that Farmer Jones is confident he will be brought back, as soon as he can find a lead-lined full-body suit on eBay.
Government officials and executives of Tokyo Electric Power, which runs the plant, gave confusing accounts of the causes of the explosion and the damage it caused. Late Saturday night, officials said that the explosion occurred in a structure housing turbines near the No. 1 reactor at the plant rather than inside the reactor itself.

The blast, apparently caused by a sharp buildup of pressure or of hydrogen when the reactor’s cooling system failed after the quake, destroyed the concrete structure surrounding the reactor but did not collapse the critical steel container inside, they said. They said that raised the chances they could continue cooling the core, and prevent the release of large amounts of radioactive material and avoid a full core meltdown at the plant...

...The crisis at the aging plant confronted Japan with its worst nuclear accident — and one of the biggest malfunctions at a nuclear plant since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
Remain Calm. Cooking Will Be Automatic, Now That Ambient
Radioactivity Levels Have Reached +/- 1,000 Rads Per Hour!

In an interview with Japan’s national public television, NHK, Tokyo University professor Naoto Sekimura said “only a small portion of the fuel has been melted. But the plant is shut down already, and being cooled down. Most of the fuel is contained in the plant case, so I would like to ask people to be calm.”

As C. Montgomery Burns once said, what could be a full-blown Chernobyl has been reduced to the size of a mere Three-Mile Island. What a relief for the survivors.

UPDATE: Vanity Fair reports that CNBC's Larry Kudlow, useless narcissistic parasite economist who be lovin' him that supply-side economics, observed during yesterday's coverage of the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan that “The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll, and we can be grateful for that.” You can see the video here.

Of course, Larry (whose nickname reportedly is 'Kuddles') was also a cheerleader for the Great American Housing Bubble from his little teevee soapbox. He said it could never end. He also said in 2008 that America's entering a recession was an impossibility, and called "Lil' Boots" Bush an "economic genius". This, of course, from a moderately reformed cokehead. The level of empathy is mind-boggling, Kuddles.