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Japan Reluctant To Disclose Drone Footage of Fukushima Plant

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the gudjilla-in-high-res-at-least dept.

Government 335

garymortimer writes with word that "footage taken from an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone was passed on to the Japanese government with permission for public release from the US Air Force. US military sources said that the decision to release the footage — or not — was up to the Japanese government." The Japanese government, though, has thus far chosen not to release the high-resolution footage of the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.

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they don't want the footage of godzilla to get out (5, Funny)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545618)

they don't want the footage of godzilla to get out

Re:they don't want the footage of godzilla to get (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545914)

they don't want the footage of godzilla to get out

Finally a logical explanation for everyone leaving Tokyo.

Re:they don't want the footage of godzilla to get (0, Flamebait)

fullback (968784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546536)

You think that's funny? I'm astounded that Slashdot isn't banning users for comments like this.
I live 93 miles south of the plant. What are you, 10-years old?
Come on, people...

Re:they don't want the footage of godzilla to get (2)

shentino (1139071) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546606)

I think banning people for what they're posting (unless it's spam or CP) is equally petty.

Re:they don't want the footage of godzilla to get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546720)

I think its funny, and I'm almost 30.

Not Good (4, Informative)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545624)

By being secretive, they're letting rumors run rampant. It will surface at some point anyways, so they should just assume that and be more transparent about it.

As it is now, I've heard of everything from 5 deaths and 20 wounded with all reactors in meltdown to nothing going on whatsoever. Uncertainty breeds fear.

Re:Not Good (0)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545652)

I wouldnt say uncertainty breeds fear, but recent events.
A nuclear power plant is at "stage 5" alert, where the worst is stage 7.
They were reluctant to report a lot of issues, including the water leakage in one of their reactors, causing exposed cores.
The radiation is getting worse by the day, yet they still haven't issued a larger area of evacuation notices
People are being told to wash their clothes if significant radiation was found. (Heard this on NPR)

Re:Not Good (5, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546160)

A nuclear power plant is at "stage 5" alert, where the worst is stage 7.

Three Mile Island was also a stage 5 (don't know if you're old enough to remember that one). Also, it's a logarithmic scale.

I'm not intending to play down the seriousness of the situation - it's definitely bad. But it's not "71% of the worst possible case scenario" bad.

Re:Not Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546438)

A nuclear power plant is at "stage 5" alert, where the worst is stage 7.

Three Mile Island was also a stage 5 (don't know if you're old enough to remember that one). Also, it's a logarithmic scale.

I think you are confusing something here. The scale commonly used for earthquakes is logarithmic. The INES scale would be an ordinal scale. Just sayin'.. (actually makes a huge difference)

Re:Not Good (5, Informative)

MachDelta (704883) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546568)

Actually, the Wikipedia article does state that it is intended to be logarithmic.
And it makes sense, because the difference between a 1 and a 2 is "Bob dropped his coffee" and "Bob dropped his coffee in the storage pool, now we gotta drain it", but the difference between a 6 and a 7 is "Might want to consider moving a couple dozen miles down the road" and "Might want to consider moving to a different hemisphere" ;)

Re:Not Good (3, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545668)

Considering the reporting done so far? I can't blame them for not wanting to disclose it. We've had radiation fear mongering, nuclear meltdown fear mongering, we've had just about everything you can think of. Including media induced panics on food, to salt, to potassium iodine in places like...Norway.

As of today? In downtown tokyo, the radiation level is 3usv above normal background. OH NOES NUCLAR MELTDOWN!!!111! We're all gonna die from radiation poisoning!!!1!

If this even has shown me anything, it's that people suck on the tit of fear, and fear mongering and disregard even anything approaching common sense, or fact.

Re:Not Good (3, Interesting)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545726)

Irrational fear does not mean facts should not be released.
The reality is that the news organizations are making it sound like it will be an issue and then ask... "What do the experts say? You will hear it, coming up next".
Of course, "next" means "at the end of the news broadcast", by which time everyone is bored and turns off the news.
THe problem is, no one stays around to listen and then assume it is the worst. When in actuality and historically, it is the opposite.
This is how news organizations work, in order to keep you around during the commercials.

Re:Not Good (3, Insightful)

blue trane (110704) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545876)

This is why we need the govt to keep funding PBS.

Re:Not Good (4, Funny)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546002)

This is why we need the govt to keep funding PBS.

Right--because somehow Sesame Street has a magical secret trick to get Japan to cough up the drone footage.

Re:Not Good (2)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546110)

Cookie Monster doing his Godzilla impression ought to do the job.

Re:Not Good (1)

upto0013 (1144677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546120)

They do, Elmo will teach them the beauty of sharing.

Re:Not Good (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546172)

They do, Elmo will teach them the beauty of sharing.

Well, they're doing their part to share some radiation with the world...

(it's a JOKE people)

Re:Not Good (1)

darkpixel2k (623900) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546176)

They do, Elmo will teach them the beauty of sharing.

This episode brought to you by the letters H and B, and also the number 5.

Re:Not Good (1)

mallyn (136041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546468)

Don't forget Out in America. They did a good job giving a comprehensive picture of the gay community in America.

They could do the same for the Japanese Nuclear Power Community.

Re:Not Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545916)

All releasing more facts will do is give more fuel for anti nuclear networks like CNN to spin into their anti nuclear pro coal agenda ...

Re:Not Good (2)

the_Bionic_lemming (446569) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546042)

This is how news organizations work, in order to keep you around during the commercials.

People still do that?

Huh,, even my seasoned citizen Mom starts watching the News about twenty minutes late so she can zip thru the commercials.

She gave me a dirty look when I saw her doing that and said "But Mom, that's how they make their money and stuff'..

Re:Not Good (2)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546360)

Now is it just me or maybe I really lost a lot of brain cells in my early twenties, but does it feel newish to anyone else that every god damn show seems to spend half the time briefing people after the commercial about what happened and what's going to happen, it happens, and then they explain what's going to happen after the commercial? Not just news although it sort of feels like I'm seeing more commercials for the news than I spend actually watching the news. It's like being on a website that asks if I want to follow them through Facebook.

Re:Not Good (1)

mallyn (136041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546492)

That's why I got rid of my TV back in 1978. They pulled the same trick then.

Now I have fun making things [allyn.com] .

I look at google news for a few minutes and shut it off and had for the sewing/welding/workbench.

Re:Not Good (2, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546410)

The footage probably shows proprietary possibly security-sensitive information about TEPCO's private facility.

Not necessarily about the 'status' of the reactors, BUT about the design of the reactors -- what they look like -- how the building is laid out, where things are, etc.

Does the US government release Microsoft Windows source code, when there is a worm release such as W32/Blaster?

Re:Not Good (2, Interesting)

netsharc (195805) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545774)

Saw a link on Twitter to an Italian news site that said the background radiation in Rome was higher than in Tokyo. Yeah, well done media, 0.04uSv?!?!

Someone's made a Wiki of shameful reporting by "journalists" [wikispaces.com] .

If I had the expertise, I'd made a fake video with a fake Geiger counter display, and then showing how the skin is boiling off my arm, put it online and see how much the media would fall for it. They'll probably put it all over the internet news sites (Shittington Post) and fucking CNN, with the weasely disclaimer of "unconfirmed video", which only protects themselves from embarrassment of being hoaxed as well as contributing to the mass panic those blonde airhead news-readers (not journalists) are causing

Oh well, as of now the media's voice is "radiation, what's that? Oh look at those boys bombing Gaddafi!"

Re:Not Good (2)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545880)

Please don't do that... my family is panicking enough as it is demanding I take the first possible flight home.

Re:Not Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546028)

And what makes you think the "shameful reporting" is limited to the last few days of coverage of the Japanese reactors?

Yeah, they'll do a WONDERFUL job with whatever happens in Iraq.

When will they go from cheerleading it as a "broadly-based coalition effort" to denigrating it as a "unilateral invasion". It's not like they haven't done THAT flip-flop before...

Re:Not Good (2)

Nedmud (157169) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546138)

Interesting. I'm not going to "fisk" that page (since fisking is a retarded practice that amounts to cherry-picking easily criticised minor points).

I was kind of proud to see my own local paper the "Wellington Dominion Post" scored a 7 for "selecting a picture of a mushroom cloud like explosion because they couldn't think of nuclear in any other terms than a mushroom cloud". Well that's kind of subjective: it doesn't look especially mushroomy to me. But it does look a hell of a lot like an actual Fukushima explosion photo.

There is a lot of sensationalism coming out in the Fukushima reporting. But sites like this aren't interested in accuracy; they exist to say that any concern for the plant is overblown, and to discredit any negative reporting of it, regardless of veracity.

Re:Not Good (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546482)

I'm curious as to how the radiation compares to.. say.. going through an airport scanner....

Re:Not Good (3, Interesting)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545844)

Confronted with secrecy and dishonesty people will assume the worst. That's a perfectly natural reaction. There was never a point at which TEPCO was freely releasing the information they had, so you are confusing cause and effect here.

Besides: they owe information to the Japanese people - it was their plant which caused the problem, it was their plant causing considerable economic damage and health risks for so many people. If you can't handle negative media reports about nuclear power, then you don't have the balls to run a nuclear power plant. Find another business to be in - maybe something with kittens and flowers.

Re:Not Good (2, Interesting)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546186)

Actually TEPCO was freely releasing information for quite awhile. Albeit in japanese, and on their website when it wasn't being hammered into the ground. They stopped after people started running around wildly waving their arms in the air and going off about this being nuclear armageddon.

Re:Not Good (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546592)

Actually... PM Naoto Kan (a physicist by education) was furious with TEPCO for keeping too positive a spin on their reporting to him, to the point where he refused their request to evacuate all workers and told them to keep working until they died.

Re:Not Good (1)

janek78 (861508) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545990)

the radiation level is 3usv (sic!) above normal background.

I know I'm nitpicking here, but saying that the "level is 3 uSv above normal background" does not make sense. 3 uSv is a dose (a tiny one) and background is measured in dose/time. So 3 uSv above background/second would be very significant, whereas 3 uSv above background/year would be totally negligible.

Re:Not Good (3, Informative)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546106)

the radiation level is 3usv (sic!) above normal background.

I know I'm nitpicking here, but saying that the "level is 3 uSv above normal background" does not make sense. 3 uSv is a dose (a tiny one) and background is measured in dose/time. So 3 uSv above background/second would be very significant, whereas 3 uSv above background/year would be totally negligible.

The better reports actually state the levels as microseiverts/hour, which is indeed an insignificant level even if maintained for a few months.

Re:Not Good (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546258)

The normal background radiation in tokyo/hr is around 25usv. It's about 28 right now, sometimes peaking to 31. It is insignificant.

Re:Not Good (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546336)

The normal background radiation in tokyo/hr is around 25usv. It's about 28 right now, sometimes peaking to 31. It is insignificant.

Well okay but the risk is that a damaged reactor could release a lot of material into the air all at once. The current level of radioactivity says little about that risk.

Re:Not Good (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546486)

And a cosmic ray zipping through the universe could knock a strand of dna off your body, and cause incurable cancer too. But you don't worry about that. The chance of the reactor doing the same is close to 0 as well. Especially now that people are on the ground and getting power wired back into the main pumps.

The daily average is 28-38usv/hr. There are places in the US, right now which are in the 60usv/hr range which is double. Anything above I believe 250msv/hr causes damage, I am tired and am at work while doing this, so posting from memory and not being able to search doesn't make it too easy.

Re:Not Good (1)

blind monkey 3 (773904) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546150)

If this even has shown me anything, it's that people suck on the tit of fear, and fear mongering and disregard even anything approaching common sense, or fact.

Having to use plastic knives and forks on planes, not being allowed to bring your own drinks on board, having nail files confiscated as dangerous weapons, having an army of proctologists waiting for you at airports etc hasn't already taught you that?

On a more sobering thought, they are finding evidence of foods being contaminated by radiation, they are reporting low levels so let us hope they are being open and not down-playing risks. If the pumps come into use, they should hopefully be able to bring things under control but I imagine that area will be quarantined for a few decades so families will need assistance in re-establishing their lives in a different area (the tsunami meant people were going to need to build anyway but I would have thought on their own land).

Oh, you do know Tokyo is 250 km away? what is the reading say 50 km from the site? I would be surprised if it were very high but it narks me that everything is always about the larger centres - we had floods in Australia recently (Queensland) and although Brisbane is getting a lot of assistance (which I'm thankful for), the areas hardest hit don't seem to rate.

Re:Not Good (1, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546230)

The problem in the US is that you've taken the choice of screen everyone instead of people who are actually out to do you harm. I mean profiling, it's evil or something. Anyway.

Where I live everything is contaminated by some form of radiation. We have it in the water, and we have it in the 'locally grown crops' I live in Canada, oh and we deal with radon seepage too. But not that it matters too much. The vast majority of this contamination won't matter 3mo down the road, and the majority of people will have forgotten about the reactor, and about the state of northern Japan too. I'm currently looking to buy land in Japan, good time to do it.

250km you don't say? Well I already knew that, funny story. I'm within 250km of 8 different reactors, including 2 that were leaking the other day. At the site? Yesterday it peaked at 81usv last I heard. Today from what I last heard it was around 61. Which is less than in some places in the US.

Re:Not Good (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546582)

I mean profiling, it's evil or something. Anyway.

First of all, the US does profile. I have a friend with the surname "Ali", and she has never been able to travel without getting pulled aside. She's on some kind of list... that is profiling. The US does it, and apparently sucks at it.

Second, because they suck at it, it IS evil. This woman is no more or less of a risk than any other American mother with 2 kids and a hubby. The government has no business putting her on a secret list and hassling her when she travels. No one is safer as a result.

So yeah, while I think you should take some common sense precautions, I think everyone should be subject to the same bullshit that your "profiled" class is subject to. Otherwise it is too easy to repress the "profiled" class.

Re:Not Good (2, Insightful)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546622)

There is no such thing as "being contaminated by radiation", unless you're talking about neutron activation and that really only happens within a reactor. Stuff gets contaminated by other stuff that happens to fission and radiate. Neither alpha, beta nor gamma radiation can contaminate anything by itself.

So in all this talk of "radiation contamination", we need to know all of the following several things for it to have any fucking meaning in the first place:
1. What are the contaminating radionuclide(s), what are their proportions, and what are their half lives.
2. What kinds of radiation are released, and which ones are dangerous (if there's plenty of alpha but nothing else, you're fine as long as you don't eat it, for example, even if the level of alpha radiation is "whoa red zone").
3. How easy are the contaminants to remove (some shit just washes with water, you know).
4. What was the mode of contamination, and thus what's contaminated (is it floating dust in the air, is it dust on the ground, is it food, water, what?).

The "readings" by themselves are useless unless you know all of the above.

Re:Not Good (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546270)

...If this even has shown me anything, it's that people suck on the tit of fear, and fear mongering and disregard even anything approaching common sense, or fact.

Like we use any common sense when there's a tit we can suck?

Re:Not Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546552)

OH NOES NUCLAR MELTDOWN!!!111! We're all gonna die from radiation poisoning!!!1!

yeah, ... nuclear meltdown is totally out of the realm of possibility. Anyone that doesn't see that nuclear energy has zero danger associated with it is a total fucking moron. Chernobyl, TMI, and now Fukushima proves there is never any health and safety issues whatsoever with nuclear power. Just because higher radiation levels might cause cancer doesn't mean its bad for you. Radiated water around the area of the Fukushima plant is like tonic, its fucking delicious, and I wish I could get a cup full for you to drink before it loses its radioactivity in a few thousand years to show you just how right you are. Mod parent 'brilliant.'

Re:Not Good (0)

tibit (1762298) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546644)

You know what? I'd have actually loved for the reactor never to scram, and to go into a LOCA and meltdown while critical. All of the shit would be probably half a mile underground by now (we're talking fuel that's hot enough to melt anything in its way). All those half-assed attempts at cooling, slowing down neutrons, etc. only mean that it will stay above ground where it's actually harmful. Meltdown by itself isn't anything bad. It's only bad when things are cool enough, but not quite. If you keep it under 1000K, you're good. If you can't -- don't bother, in fact do whatever you can to bring it above 4000K or so. Then it'll go down into the ground all by itself.

Re:Not Good (5, Informative)

DeadCatX2 (950953) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546574)

Being near sea level, the radiation levels in Tokyo are normally about 35 nanoSieverts per hour (nSv/h). This doesn't include dietary sources of radiation.

According to this chart [bloomberg.com] , the radiation level for the past couple days has been 50 nSv/h. (the chart uses microGrays per hour (uGy/h), but 1 uGy = 1 uSv)

Mexico City, being about 2.2 km elevation, has a higher background radiation because the atmosphere is thinner. They average 90 nSv/h there, almost double what's in Tokyo for the past two days.

The real kicker? Each cigarette contains at least 1000 nSv, smoked directly into the lungs. Every cigarette someone smokes is like spending at least 20 hours standing in downtown Tokyo right now.

Re:Not Good (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545744)

Honestly - do you think the US government would release anything if it had happened in the US? It would take months and Freedom of Information Act requests to get hold of it. And since it's a nuclear plant with strategic and national interest value, anyone wanting to see such video would probably be called a "terrorist". Remember when they were arresting people for taking pictures of federal buildings? Now imagine a nuclear plant...

Re:Not Good (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546188)

Honestly - do you think the US government would release anything if it had happened in the US? It would take months and Freedom of Information Act requests to get hold of it. And since it's a nuclear plant with strategic and national interest value, anyone wanting to see such video would probably be called a "terrorist". Remember when they were arresting people for taking pictures of federal buildings? Now imagine a nuclear plant...

Again, having mentioned it already once in this thread - are you old enough to remember Three Mile Island? It's hard to cover this sort of thing up - we were treated to endless talking head segments on every news program during that failure.

One thing about getting older... you learn a little bit about perspective.

Re:Not Good (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546322)

Again, having mentioned it already once in this thread - are you old enough to remember Three Mile Island? It's hard to cover this sort of thing up - we were treated to endless talking head segments on every news program during that failure.

Right and we had the same talking head phenomena with this incident, but I don't remember the government releasing unedited surveillance camera feeds, which is what the drone footage amounts to.

Re:Not Good (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545948)

If they DO release the footage, then Fox/CNN/MSNBC/what-have-you mis-read the serious exterior damage as serious interior damage, which causes panic too. Damned if you do...

Re:Not Good (2)

Dodgy G33za (1669772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546316)

The logical conclusion to draw would be that the footage is worse than the rumours that will be made by not releasing it. However most nuclear agencies seem to have secrecy as a default stance (one of the things which makes the Nuclear industry so dodgy IMHO) so it is just as likely that it hasn't been released because no-one wants to make the decision.

Re:Not Good (1)

ZDRuX (1010435) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546406)

Wow, how is this post marked FLAMEBAIT?.. Wtf?.. They're scared to release photographs, so this person has some reason to be suspicious as to why that may be, and he's flagged as FLAMEBAIT? What is wrong with you people?

Re:Not Good (1)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546514)

How is this flamebait? As I see it, this comment directly addresses the question....

Graffiti (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545644)

They didn't want the West reading all the obscene graffiti written all over the inside of the reactor walls by over-zealous construction crews... or maybe, on a more serious note, the disaster and it's likely consequences are worse than Japan has stated?

With such a small country, the people most likely know just how devastating only one breach could be, but maybe the mass panic will be worse than the actual disaster, so the government is keeping it quiet for public safety in the long run?

Re:Graffiti (3, Interesting)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545978)

Or maybe they're worried that the news will be inflated and twisted. Have you seen the pictures of the reactor post-hydrogen explosion? Looks nasty, right? News companies the world over will read that as "serious damage to the reactor". While that is true, there's a distinction between the reactor and the reactor chamber itself. If the reactor chamber was damaged seriously, we'd all be five kinds of screwed. It's an easy mistake to make, and if that mistake IS made, it causes a media firestorm that takes months (if not years) to cool down.

Re:Graffiti (1)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546094)

You're correct, the few-day-old pics I've seen look scary but apparently the actual containment is intact. But what if, and that was my main point, the containment isn't, and that's what these photos show? It's the first thing I thought of.

Well at that point, we would still have the situation I described where the public response makes things worse than they actually are. But hey, we're all just speculating now aren't we?

Déjà vu (1, Flamebait)

BitterOak (537666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545674)

I'm getting a feeling of déjà vu. This sounds like last summer's offshore oil well leak all over again. Sooner or later the truth will come out. Trying to hide things now only makes it look like they're trying to cover something up.

Re:Déjà vu (2)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545732)

This sounds like last summer's offshore oil well leak all over again. Sooner or later the truth will come out. Trying to hide things now only makes it look like they're trying to cover something up.

Yup, corporations being corporate.

Re:Déjà vu (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545856)

Or the government deciding to wait until all the facts are in before telling the whole story? The footage won't show anything that the people actually WORKING this thing don't already know. My guess is they don't want to release the high-def footage right now because it will result in a bunch of weekend armchair "nuclear experts" who took a couple of courses in basic reactor design (and got a C minus) spouting off about "what is really going on" and getting people worked up into a panic.

But witholding dubiously useful images to prevent panic during a crisis isn't anywhere near as interesting as corporate conspiracy, is it?

Re:Déjà vu (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546696)

>Or the government deciding to wait until all the facts are in before telling the whole story? The footage won't show anything that the people actually WORKING this t
>thing don't already know.

But that's irrelevant, since the people working at the site don't have a primary concern in knowing whether the Japanese government is lying or withholding important facts. There are a lot of people who are becoming increasingly convinced that this is the case, and it doesn't help one bit to know they have high resolution photos and a reason for not sharing them.

Re:Déjà vu (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545788)

This sounds like last summer's offshore oil well leak all over again.

Which also turned out to be a tempest in a teapot, like this whole episode will.

Re:Déjà vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546118)

Nice try, BP Shill.

Re:Déjà vu (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546710)

Would you be willing to feed your own child from infancy to adulthood on a diet consisting solely of gulf seafood and vegetables grown near the gulf shore?

Re:Déjà vu (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546300)

www.digitalglobe.com%2Fdownloads%2FDG_Analysis_Japan_Daiichi_Reactor_March2011.pdf&ei=d1KFTe6dHJCitgeJmtm3BA&usg=AFQjCNGeRYetCcvJt-iiSKFH0Hw5vm_oJg

What would be the point? (5, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545698)

According to TFA, the footage is being analyzed by nuclear power experts. What would be the point of disclosing it to the public -- lurid fascination?

Maybe the Japanese government just thinks the Japanese public's attention would be better directed toward rebuilding the nation in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, which cause much more destruction and loss of life than this nuclear incident is ever likely to.

Re:What would be the point? (4, Insightful)

slyborg (524607) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546012)

The point would be for the exact level of damage to the spent fuel pools to be revealed, which would confirm the level of concern that should be given contamination fears. If the pools are all full of water or show undamaged assemblies, then the public would be reassured. That they have chosen not to release this footage, by Occam's Razor, indicates that things are worse than has been definitively confirmed, although likely not worse than has been widely speculated.

I really don't understand the strident desire by some to downplay the severity of this incident. In pure economic terms, this has crippled the Tokyo electric grid, probably for years, which is affecting the lives of tens of millions in the Tokyo area. It will also cost billions of dollars to clean up, by "clean-up" meaning entombing these particular facilities forever.

Re:What would be the point? (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546246)

The point would be for the exact level of damage to the spent fuel pools to be revealed, which would confirm the level of concern that should be given contamination fears.

But the way to do that is to have the footage review by recognized experts in the field (preferably from a number of different countries).

If they release the footage to the public then every news network will have their own nuclear "expert" pointing at a discarded firehose and claiming it's an exposed fuel rod.

Re:What would be the point? (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546308)

Exactly. It's not like this footage is being buried. It is being analyzed to determine the full extent of the damage -- both in Japan and in California. What would be the point of releasing it to Fox News and the New York Post?

Re:What would be the point? (3, Informative)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546572)

The point would be for the exact level of damage to the spent fuel pools to be revealed, which would confirm the level of concern that should be given contamination fears. If the pools are all full of water or show undamaged assemblies, then the public would be reassured. That they have chosen not to release this footage, by Occam's Razor, indicates that things are worse than has been definitively confirmed, although likely not worse than has been widely speculated.

Precisely this. There is absolutely no shortage of speculation and hypothesizing about worst case scenarios. Holding back information on the status of the facility is only going to help fuel the uncertainty produced by a lack of information!

I really don't understand the strident desire by some to downplay the severity of this incident. In pure economic terms, this has crippled the Tokyo electric grid, probably for years, which is affecting the lives of tens of millions in the Tokyo area. It will also cost billions of dollars to clean up, by "clean-up" meaning entombing these particular facilities forever.

When horrified people assumed that Chernobyl could happen anywhere, there was a reflexive response to dispel those fears with facts. A response which continues to this day. Unfortunately, those informed pro-nuclear attitudes have evolved to the point where a number of nuclear power's defenders steadfastly refuse to believe that anything could go significantly wrong with a reactor facility. Well-informed rationality has given way to hubris.

A large-scale radioactive release, catastrophic system failure... these things were initially described as highly unlikely, and in the minds of some they've now reached the point of absolute impossibility. When presented with evidence that the situation at Fukushima was far more grave than initially reported, some of these people were extremely vocal in completely dismissing all concerns. When it became clear to just about everyone that the situation there was spiraling out of control, the disbelief continued. Often devolving into mocking those who thought something might be seriously wrong with the plant. (The old "OMG ATOMZ!!!!", etc attacks) It took an enormous amount of proof before this contingent of nuclear power supporters finally stopped ridiculing every bit of news from every single source as mindless fear-mongering.

And yes, there has been fear-mongering, but there has been an almost equal amount of misplaced faith in technology. And as this situation proves, those with irrational fears of nuclear power exist on the opposite end of the spectrum of those who defend it without fail, irrespective of all evidence and fact.

I have faith in technology, but bad things happen. No system is foolproof, and watching programmers and other well-educated people believe a particular application to be flawless is well... disheartening. It belongs in the magical fantasy land of bug-free code and cities filled with buildings lacking design flaws.

I support nuclear power, but at the same time, I'm highly doubtful that any large company is going to provide me with the whole truth about any nuclear accident. History has shown it to be an unwise expectation. But that doesn't make me a hysterical NIMBY, and maybe this will be the wakeup call that lets people express opinions not rooted in some form of zealotry.

Re:What would be the point? (1)

mind.the.oranges (1988090) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546370)

Maybe the Japanese government just thinks the Japanese public's attention would be better directed toward ...

You've got that backwards. The responsibility of government is to serve the public, not manipulate their attention (whatever the current state of governments to the contrary). When we lower our expectations of institutions like governments we permit them to fail to live up to their responsibilities. The Japanese Government has responsibilities to its citizens and the rest of the world in the event of a nuclear accident. What I find more disappointing is that the US Government has not made the footage publicly available to their own citizens. American citizens paid for that drone and its operator, for the base from which it launched, and for digital video recorded during the flight. The footage should belong to the people who paid for it, but then transparency is lacking is most of our democracies.

Following the standard instructions (5, Interesting)

AbrasiveCat (999190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545714)

Having just attended training in emergency preparedness, we trained not to release details, so the Japanese are just following the standard script. They also said never lie, or you will never be believed in the future. They seem to be following the script. (Actually they are giving more details that I would expect. Now I can’t give any more details of the training. Sorry. )

Re:Following the standard instructions (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545942)

Really? Were you also trained in incident command for nation or regional emergencies?

People on the lower rungs of the hierarchy are told to not release information or talk to the press. On the other hand, the decision on how, when and to whom to release information is one of the specific tasks of the incident/emergency command and/or coordination team.

they already lied more than once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545966)

or is falsifying inspection records not lying

Re:Following the standard instructions (1)

spammeister (586331) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546054)

So this training pretty much includes "hide under the desk", "keep lots of water onhand" and "being prepared on the internets"?

What comes to mind was that video I saw of a bunch of soldiers hiding under their desks during the Japanese earthquake...you require secret training for that?

Seriously?...I can make up stuff on the internet as good as the next guy...

Re:Following the standard instructions (4, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546320)

Having just attended training in emergency preparedness, we trained not to release details, so the Japanese are just following the standard script. They also said never lie, or you will never be believed in the future. They seem to be following the script.

Silence is not a substitute for candor.

Silence can fuel rumors far more dangerous than the truth. Silence does not inspire trust.

The script is not the performance:

[Tepco] has already been severely criticised by Japan's prime minister, Naoto Kan, for failing to inform him immediately that a serious explosion had taken place following the earthquakes. "What the hell is going on?" asked Kan last week when he finally caught up with Tepco officials, in remarks picked up by a stray microphone. "Retreat is unthinkable," he told the firm, fearing that the decision to evacuate 740 staff from the stricken reactor site was the start of a complete abandonment.

Embattled Tepco faces its BP moment over Japan nuclear disaster [guardian.co.uk]

Now I can't give any more details of the training. Sorry.

Why not?

Radiation Protection - Protective Action Guides [epa.gov]

Re:Following the standard instructions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546434)

Congratulations! You are now part of the problem!

I don't blame them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545760)

Come on, high-resolution photos of a nuclear power plant? You can't take a photo of a perimeter fence of a US government building without getting assaulted by cops.

Re:I don't blame them (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546324)

So, you're worried someone might sabotage the plant? Try to steal some radioactive material?

In all seriousness; this has become a possible threat to every person on this planet. They should be more open.

They're just trying to keep people calm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545768)

There's already a massive scare in Japan over the threat of a radiation leak. The last thing you need to do is incite a panic by showing footage of the plant partially destroyed. That kind of image will scare the hell out of people, even if things are coming under control.

if falliut taught me anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545802)

Always keep plenty of rad-x and Rad away handy.

Re:if falliut taught me anything (0)

webmistressrachel (903577) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545828)

You mean Fallout?

"we MUST focus on the HORRIFIC images" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545820)

cnn. we must do...

What is hidden (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35545952)

What the Japanese do not want to show is their culture is still rooted in their ugly feudal history. Those films could help expose the lying and avariciousness of their elite. If this nuclear tragedy results in major changes for the better, it will be in a revision of their cultural mores.

Leaks (4, Insightful)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 3 years ago | (#35545962)

Where's Jullian Assange when you need him?

Re:Leaks (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546018)

Probably being accused of rape by women who consented to have sex with him.
Oh wait, that was last year. Nvm.

Re:Leaks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546432)

Probably being accused of rape by women who consented to have sex with him.
Oh wait, that was last year. Nvm.

Probably raping women for real. Oh wait that was last year.

Re:Leaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546286)

In sweden, having sex by surprise.

Non event (2)

BudAaron (1231468) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546050)

Folks - I spent a lot of my youth with the Weapons Effects Test group. We detonated weapons in the Pacific and at the Nevada Proving grounds. Bing/Google Upshot Knothole and Buster Jangle to see recently released footage of these tests. Then consider that the Japanese event doesn't even come close to releasing the radioactive material these tests released into the atmosphere. Like I say - this is a total non-event...

Re:Non event (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546152)

How many of those weapons tests happened on a densely populated island, with a population center of tens of millions of people downwind?

Drone on. (2)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546090)

Don't these drones transmit in the clear? I thought there was a big stink in Afghanistan and Pakistan where people could "tune in" to the video feed using simple portable electronics.

If thats the case cant some Japanese technophile just capture and broadcast the signal over the web?

Or did USAF fix that hole and now encrypts everything?

Re:Drone on. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546198)

Considering the area was evacuated, not to mention that they're trying to recover from the devastation, I doubt anyone has the time or opportunity to do so.

Why should they disclose anything? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546116)

This is a disaster and a tragedy to the nation of Japan.

This footage does not constitute news - it's voyeurism plain and simple. If it helps the Japanese in some way, that's great.

Maybe we should have high-resolution footage of the aftermath of every fatal car accident. It's news, right - we are entitled to have our interest piqued by the suffering and despair of others.

Accuracy? (4, Insightful)

KH (28388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546158)

I might have to call this one bullshit. I briefly checked Asahi, Mainichi and Yomiuri, the three major newspapers in Japan. Only Mainichi has this news. And the reporter, as far as I can gather, seems stationed in the vicinity of the Edwards AFB and seems quite a bit fascinated by the Global Hawk. So, what she reported may not be completely untrue, but can be that some facts are twisted. The report at least does not seem to be based on a press release. So, the US Air Force may, in principle, have agreed to provide the data from the drone, but it could go anywhere.

The operation at the Fukushima 1 plant involves various organization: TEPCO, JSDF, various Fire Departments, some sort of atomic watchdog most likely reporting to some kind of ministry, and probably some organization reporting to the cabinet. I still have not figured out who is ultimately in charge. My vague impression is that the TEPCO plans, _asks_ any of the above organization that they think fit to do that job, and the said organization does the job. Not very efficient. This may be partially the reason why they seem to take so long to perform a next step.

So, the data from the US Air Force may be given to someone in Japan, someone in the government. But I can imagine the person who was (being) given the data might not even know to whom to forward it. It may be being forwarded to the people on the ground and used for planning, assessment, etc., but they may not even think to use the footage in the next press conference; they may want to have a written warrant saying it is OK to release it, and so on. Every morning (Japan time), two organizations (TEPCO and something akin to IAEA but Japan domestic) and the cabinet spokesman are having press conferences to report on the power plant and I have yet to understand who is ultimately responsible for the operation.

What I'm trying to say is that the reason we have not seen the footage from the Global Hawk has more to do with the complexity of the operation than some intention to hide something from the public.

As a postscript, in the past ten days or so, I have learned to read information coming from Japan very carefully. Often even major newspapers make blatant faulty statements, often having the effect of instilling fear in the public. I find it distasteful. Yet I find hope in the Japanese netizens: when they encounter a bald statement, it has become their custom to ask for the source, a la Wikipedia, and when the source cannot be shown, the statement is determined a hoax and not further propagated. They seem to have learned the danger of hoaxes and misinformation...for most part.

Re:Accuracy? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546548)

Posty mainchi link if you get a second. I don't see it on the english ed. or japanese ed.

Why would they? (2)

theBully (1056930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546200)

1. Any government on the planet prevents the public from getting even close to a nuclear plant. (Already said in at least one other post in more detail)

2. Media hasn't been very good at distributing the information they've got objectively. All I have seen (particularly in western media) is a huge doom & despair hype where as little or as much information that was made available is turned on all sides just to get a more extravagant story. A perfect example is the Level 5 alert level which in fact applies only to one of the reactors (I think it was 3) but no one seems to mention other reactors have a warning level of 1. In the meantime power has been restored to 2 of the reactors and the cooling systems are being repaired.

3. Like most people on the planet, I know about nuclear plants as much as general culture can offer me. What relevant information would we be able to extract from visual imagery? None. We would invite a reporter or some scientist to tell us. Not long ago one of the most credible radio stations in my country has invited a specialist to talk about this topic. The scientist in question was a Nutritionist and she told us everyone in the world will be affected because the whole food chain is already contaminated. I will let you draw a conclusion on that one.

Close Your Eyes (1)

BinBoy (164798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546204)

If you close your eyes, the problem will go away.

How does this compare? (2)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546212)

Does anyone have timelines on how quickly information on TMI and Chernobyl was disseminated for comparison? If the Japanese are ahead of the curve we should shut-up, if not then we can continue to feel smug discussing how evil corporations are, Japanese feudal power, or whatever Red/Blue opinions we have.

Re:How does this compare? (1)

mpoulton (689851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546584)

The quality and quantity of detailed information we are receiving here is far better than either TMI or Chernobyl, but that's not really a useful comparison. TMI occurred at a time when information spread much more slowly than it does now. Chernobyl also occurred in pre-internet-media days, and within the Soviet Union. In both of those cases, there was also far less technical information available to ANYONE (including the on-site staff) about the state of the reactors, due to a lack of monitoring equipment or the failure thereof. In fact, the lack of real-time technical information was a substantial contributing factor in both of those incidents, and could be said to be the main cause of the TMI incident. Things are different now. If the Japanese merely meet the rate of information release that occurred during the TMI and Chernobyl events, they may still be inexcusably slow and secretive. They have far better monitoring information about the status of the reactors (including the drone video) than anyone did during TMI or Chernobyl, and they have the means to disseminate that information to the world faster and more easily than at those other incidents.

The fact is, they have continuously failed to publicly acknowledge the seriousness of the situation, and their press releases and conferences have consistently been far more optimistic than any third-party analyses of the problem. Bottom line: when workers are receiving potentially fatal radiation doses simply by working in open air outside the buildings at the facility, there is a VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM. When helicopters can even attempt to drop water into spent fuel cooling ponds, which are housed inside the primary containment structure and should never be exposed to the open environment, there is a VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM. Three Mile Island may have involved a similar degree of core damage, but TMI was strictly a loss-of-coolant incident with a small, controlled release of relatively harmless isotopes. Fukushima is not merely a loss-of-coolant incident, it is already a loss-of-CONTAINMENT accident, which is an entirely different sort of problem. By publicly claiming that the current situation is on par with TMI because the situation in the cores appears similar, the Japanese are being overtly misleading and it's not fooling any of the other informed observers.

Did you know (5, Interesting)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546226)

Fox News showed a map of the nuclear power plants in Japan. On that map, there was a suspect nuclear plant named "Shibuya Eggman". Turns out [tumblr.com] that's the name of a nightclub in the Shibuya area of Tokyo.

Now, how is that relevant? Give the fear-mongering media a piece of footage that can be misinterpreted to induce panic, and they won't waste a minute before misrepresenting it to induce panic. Sensationalism is how they get their ratings. The people of Tokyo leaving their jobs in fear and taking to the hills is NOT what Japan's battered economy needs right now. If you ask me, we simply shouldn't read too much into the authorities' actions just yet!

Footage that's already been released (Background) (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35546358)

For back ground reference: we do have some areal footage [youtube.com] (source: TEPCO) and a bit of footage from the ground [youtube.com] (source: MOD)

Fukushima Reactor 3 (1)

MrKaos (858439) | more than 3 years ago | (#35546630)

It's very important to find out what has happened to reactor number 3 as it is the one powered by Mox fuel and also has the cooling "pond" next to it. This video of Fukushima reactor 3 explosion [youtube.com] shows some heavy components being thrown in the air so it would be good to get some exact data about what is going on there.

It is on the record that this reactor facility has concealed safety issues from regulatory authorities in 2004, if I remember correctly.

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