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Fukushima's Fallout Worse Than Thought

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the usda-recommended-daily-dose-of-cs-137 dept.

Japan 308

gbrumfiel writes "A new study posted for open peer-review suggests that the nuclear reactors at Fukushima Daiichi released far more radiation than the Japanese government initially estimated. The study [PDF] uses global radioisotope and meteorological data to calculate the size of the release from the plant. Nature News reports that, contrary to official claims, the model shows that fuel being stored in a pool at unit 4 released a significant amount of cesium-137, a long-lived contaminant that has spread across the countryside. It also says that some Xenon-133 may have been released early on in the accident, suggesting that the plant was already damaged before it was hit by a tsunami. Overall, it estimates that Fukushima released about twice as much cesium-137 as the government claims and half as much as Chernobyl."

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308 comments

If only big government had stayed off their backs (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842884)

See, once again we see proof of what happens when government gets in the way with all their environmental regulations, regulations, inspections, etc. If this company had just been left to the free market, clearly they would have made a better effort to maintain their reactors and improve safety features. Once we abolish the EPA, NRC, Dept. of Energy, etc. we won't have to worry about something like this happening in the U.S.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (3, Interesting)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842938)

*Implying that regulations prevented the disaster.

We have to keep doing what we are doing, or EVERYONE WILL DIE!!!!@!@!11

Truth is, if regulations had not been so severe, they would have been able to move that spent fuel to a safer location, or, God forbid, reuse it in a breeder reactor to generate energy while disposing of the long term radioactive waste. Instead, extremely heavy regulations made the situation WORSE because they forced the plant to store spent fuel in an insanely dangerous manner--they simply couldn't afford the cost of complying with disposal regulations.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (4, Insightful)

headhot (137860) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843164)

Because packing up and shipping radioactive material is far cheaper then having it sit in a pool of water next to where it was extracted right? Companies always do the correct and far more expensive thing.

  I dont know about japan, but in the US regulators make them keep the fuel because congress cant get their shit together to open up the storage facility.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (1, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843382)

Probably yes it is cheaper, after you apply the risk factor to the potential costs of a disaster. I know as rational self interested person if I operated a power plant I'd sure as hell want to eliminate the possibility of a company ending disaster by getting that spent fuel someplace mostly safe.

Do I care about the people living around my plant maybe or maybe not but I sure do care about the potential legal liability I face if I harm them; because that hurts me.

This is a case where badly designed regulation distorted the risk to potential cost ratio, which almost certainly did change behavior and in this case had negative consequences. This is what large/strong government proponents need to understand there are always unintended consequences. The onus on getting society to agree to regulation should be on the regulator. Its not good enough to say OMG if something is not done something else terrible might happen, you have to also be able show that you have done the system think and convince me that you have worked through the system thinking and are not creating other new problems; which might not be obvious at first.

If you can't do that than I am going to take well a weak/small government and allowing the market to solve the problems is likely the better approach. The market WILL solve the problem, optimally? perhaps not always but it will solve it and do so fairly.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843542)

That's incorrect. Once you've piled up enough risk that an accident would end your career (which is what you care about, not the company), then you don't expend more money on avoiding additional risk. This "all in" behavior is not only painfully obvious, it's also empirically demonstrable. It's the same mechanism that renders harsher punishment for extraordinary crimes moot.

The market will at best work to deflect the risk, not avoid it. Without oversight, these risks would be ignored completely, because their magnitude makes them career killers no matter what you do.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843644)

As a Professional in Risk Analysis and Management of various tangible and intangible assets, the person or people controlling the purse strings never see the risk right in front of them. I fight on a daily basis to try to keep my clients informed of the clusterfuck hovering above them and it's hard work, if it wasn't for regulation I'd be out of a job because most companies wouldn't give a shit and not just because of trying to keep expenses low but because they're idiots. I spend so much time covering my ass and ensuring that everything I do or say is properly noted and recorded to ensure they don't blame me when the shit hits the fan that it makes up most of my overhead. The market will solve the problem by killing itself and anything around it in the process and it's not just because of greed, it's because people are idiots. The people in charge of these things in the corporate structure are usually just idiots and the people writing the regulation are usually just lazy or living in academic fantasy land or are in no way, shape or form divorced from conflicts of interest.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (0)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843940)

Think about the extent to which companies go to avoid being sued. Now allow nuclear power plants to be sued for radiation release (they currently can NOT be sued if they meet regulatory requirements, which Fukushima did). Do you see how this works?

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843884)

"..after you apply the risk factor to the potential costs of a disaster."

But private corporation seldom do that, and when they do it's always weighed against the impact on my bonus THAT qtr.

The long history of corporation show that they will poison people, leave the countryside a barren waste land, and level mountains. Based on the history of corporation, I would wager that without regulation they would have dumped the nuclear waste about 50 miles off the coast.

I'm not anti corporation, but why people scream about getting rid of regulation and ignore the history of corporate activity.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843532)

congress cant get their shit together to open up the storage facility.

I think that accurately portrays our political situation. You'd be amazed at how much shit would get done if those yarks stopped fighting over who got to sit in the clown car.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843906)

I do know about the US and i do know this is exactly what's going on in the US, that apparently is regulated by "the EPA, NRC, Dept. of Energy"

So what exactly are you guys implying? This only happens in Japan due to greedy corporations? Look around you. Regulatory bodies are not working, they have been infiltrated by people who's interests are solely with the corporations they're supposed to be regulating.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843184)

yup, just like every problem, this one only has two dimensions based on on prevailing political ideology. keep it up, i think you're helping.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (3, Interesting)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842962)

Exactly. Better to have a company lie to us than the government since nobody trusts companies, but too many people trust the government way to fully.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843032)

You raise an interesting point. So who exactly are you supposed to trust to provide you with accurate information? I suppose you could go and do it yourself, but then I would have to trust you. And I don't. This means I have to do it myself, also I have to do everything else in the world otherwise it's untrustworthy. That means you're going to have to trust me. Too bad for you.

All this sounds rather impractical. How about we set up groups of people we trust to this for us. Maybe be we voted for or something. A bit like a government or watchdog or something.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2)

mrxak (727974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843450)

Ideally, the free press will tell us the truth. We shouldn't trust our governments or the big companies. Unfortunately, they've become the big companies they ought to be reporting on.

The free press is a company. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843478)

The free press is a company. And you've already said we can't trust companies to tell the truth.

Re:The free press is a company. (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843874)

The forth estate has a special duty to the public, and also has special rights as well. This has been enshrined in case law for a while now.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37844048)

Do you trust Consumer Reports?

Under a free market, such ratings and standards organizations would thrive to a much greater extent than they do today, and you could trust them because each organization would always point out the faults in others, forcing them all to be on their best behavior and totally open.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843174)

Better to have a company lie to us than the government since nobody trusts companies, but too many people trust the government way to fully.

You have the power to change government.

How do you change a company that you're not directly doing business with, like a nuclear power company? I don't buy anything from Goldman Sachs, so how do I affect them?

The market model is incomplete.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843470)

The same way you affect the government?

In the 2010 US national elections there were roughly 90,000,000 votes cast. Thus you had a 1/90,000,000 overall 'affect'. Of course that is further dilluted by your affecting only the politics your state sent to Washington.

Goldman Sachs has a market cap of about 52 billion with a share price of $102. So for $500 you could have the same 'affect' on GS as you do on goverment.

In either case you could work to organize others. The Tea Party affected the government and the Sudan Divestment people are doing a good job on companies. That latter example is a good one for a 'control some shares and organize' model.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (4, Insightful)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843582)

Thanks in part to the Robert's Court, if I had a hundreds of million dollars to support politicians, I have the same power over our government as Wall Street and the Koch brothers.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843916)

Incorrect. You had your vote,and any vote you swayed.

So corporation can only be changed by people whose bets interests is that they put profit over society?

Yeah, well thought out.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843066)

You a regulation of some sort that gives the companies incentive to create safer nuclear power station. From a purely profit perspective, the chance for a big accident are too small to warrant good safety. You need at least something to make that risk tangible enough so that companies automatically choose safer designs.

It's true that the field is over-regulated, or more accurately - that the wrong regulations are in place. There are strict specific rules on reactor safety - some of them might improve safety, some of them are nonsensical, and most of them are not based on scientific evidence or reason. There's nothing to give an incentive for the creation of new safer designs, the use of Thorium reactors, and there's nothing to give an incentive to shut down century-old plants like Fukushima Daiichi that are totally unsafe. Another negative consequence of the current rules it that the construction of a nuclear power plant is too expensive.

So, yes, at a first glance it does seem that if the government got out of the way, things would be much better, in fact it might be so, but that doesn't mean that some regulation isn't beneficial or even required. And yeah, I don't see why I should trust companies driven by increasing their profits should be trusted more than the government. The government is fucking it all up, remove the government, and the companies will start fucking it all up. So, instead of blanket statements calling for less regulation, let's voice our opinion on how the regulation should change.

I, for one, want my regulatory organs to use science when rewarding and penalizing installations for their environmental impacts.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843160)

Actually, in a free market world it's pretty easy: If a company causes more damage than it can pay back, all of its officers and employees are enslaved until they earn enough money to pay back the damages. We could even chain the doors shut to keep them from running away.

Oh wait, they wanted big mommy government to save them by allowing them to just walk away from their debts and declare the area a superfund site so everyone else can pay to fix their shit when they screw up something bigger than they are? Tough tits.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843302)

In a free marked the "company" will blackmail and exthort its costumers to avoid something like that happening.
In a free marked under strict goverment control, something like what you suggest might happen, if the court system works.

wrong (1)

aepervius (535155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843320)

Ina free market world, without governemental intervention (what you call mommy), those damage caused by the company are considered *externalities* and actually do not influence their bottom line, neither would they really be forced to repay for them. Example abound of company getting their profit, then leaving an horror clean up, or if sued and bankrupted, anyway never paying back for clean up. So yeah I find it funny when people praise the free market as solution for pollution (be it radioactive or others). Pollution is an externalities in the case of free market.

Re:wrong (2)

mrxak (727974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843630)

A free market is not anarchy, a government is required to enforce contracts and provide for tort suits under a court system.

If a company causes environmental damage, they can be sued the crap out of by those it effects. A jury can force the company to pay a lot more than some regulatory fines written by lobbyists that right now get taken into account as the cost of business by the people making the decisions. This actually provides a greater incentive not to cause problems, since companies right now can use regulatory loopholes and be immune in court, whereas a court system can find them liable for all sorts of things when statutes are taken out of the picture.

Re:wrong (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843960)

but the free markets wants to get rid of tort suits. Because they are 'frivolous' .
Hint, the US does NOT have a frivolous lawsuit issue, but that's all you hear about.

The free market lies.

Re:wrong (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#37844062)

What do you think The Law is? It's a system designed to regulate human behavior.

I love it when libertarians talk about The Law as if it is some sort of mythical beast, come from the heavens to save the peons - if they would just listen to it! Sounds remarkably like some other boondoggle I can't quite think of right now....

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843404)

They cry "get off my back" when they're making a profit. But they come whining for subsidies when their gambling fails.

Or, in a nutshell, privatize profits, socialize losses.

Re:Both devils you know. (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843084)

The problem with the free market is it's driven by money.
The problem with government officials is they're driven by money.

Re:Both devils you know. (1, Offtopic)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843148)

The problem with the free market is it's driven by money.
The problem with government officials is they're driven by money.

The bigger problem with government is that they can just print more money. In the free market, you have to beg, borrow and steal for money. In government, you only have to do that to win an election.

Re:Both devils you know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843348)

Not sure about Japan, but in the US, the government doesn't print our money, the Fed does. Two sides of the same coin anyway.

Re:Both devils you know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843438)

expect that the fed only prints a tiny small fraction of the money, most of it is created by banks.

Re:Both devils you know. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843418)

Dunno about your country, but in mine, there's virtually nothing that could drive or otherwise motivate a government official.

Re:Both devils you know. (0)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843774)

The problem with the free market is it's driven by money.
The problem with government officials is they're driven by money *and they have the right to take yours by threatening you with prison.*

Fixed that for you.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2)

alien9 (890794) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843282)

What a crap. The blind confidence on that godess called 'free market' is driving USA to the pit.

Mankind will always have herdish behavior and ultimately free market fails to prevent common people to avoid dangerous situations. What to say about big companies.

Government control agencies, if not highly bribed, are the only means to enforce some minimum standards of security to competitive markets like energy, where companies will always happily embrace some degree of risk for the profit's sake.

Once you abolish that said agencies you will have wild competition, corporate secrecy with no obligation to report any issues to the public.

You won't even know what is gonna hit you.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843324)

I have read reports about child labour during the industrial revolution in the area my father came from (the north-east of the Netherlands), before it was abolished. Twelve hour working days, seven days a week, of hard, dangerous work for kids who should be at school, in factories run by people who said they were giving kids enough time to play by giving them one or two 15 minute breaks per day. When I was a kid in the 1960s factories in the area still dumped their waste in nearby canals, one of which ran in front of my grandmother's house. It was covered with a thick, dirty-white layer of foam which smelled like a kitchen sink that hasn't been cleaned for months. My father remembered how boys would set the canal on fire when he was young.

These things weren't stopped by market forces. These things were stopped by goverment regulations, but not until inspections became effective. You just have to look outside of the western world, at the oil mess in the Niger delta, the way batteries and ship wrecks are processed in India, to understand that without a stable goverment and regulations that are being enforced conditions similar to those during the industrial revolution still occur. Western companies behave reasonably well in western countries because they have to.

If you abolish regulations and inspections what you get is not responsible corporations, you get a world where greed is far more important than your salary, your working conditions, your kids' schooling. I don't believe for a moment the west is immune to falling back. It's human nature.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843342)

I can't tell whether the OP is joking or not.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2)

Petron (1771156) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843414)

Fukushima met or exceeded all government safety regulations. It also survived an earthquake that ranks in the top 5 in the world. Being hit by one of the worst tsunami's on the world right afterwards tho... The tsunami afterwards knocked out the diesel powered system for regulating cooling.

So, taking your sarcastic point: Sure! Lets take what didn't work, and add more of it! Because adding more of what didn't work will make it work!

In all honesty: There will always be unforeseen events. This disaster was caused by two major issues that by themselves causes massive damages and massive loss of life. Having both happen at the same time would be disaster no matter what regulation is in place.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843592)

Since part of my job is risk management, allow me to explain how this game works. It's very unethical and very inhuman, so if you have a tender stomach, you might want to stop reading now.

Risk management is about assessing and evaluating risk, then taking measures... or not taking measures. What matters is money. How much does it cost to mitigate or neutralize the risk? How likely is the incident going to happen? How much will it cost if it happens?

An alert reader will notice that there's nothing about the effect of an incident in that question. What about the environmental damage, the damage to human life, the long term effect? How about making an area inhabitable for centuries? All that is summed up under "how much does the incident cost".

And here's where government comes into play and how government dictates just what a company will do with the risk. If they act as they do far too often today, by not holding a company accountable for their actions, the sensible thing for a company is to carry the risk. Or rather, ignore it, since it will be carried by government and population. Again, the sensible thing to do from a risk assessment point is to simply forgo any and all safety and security measures beyond what's necessary to protect the company assets. Unless of course you may expect a bailout if your plant gets too hot to operate, then even that doesn't matter anymore.

Companies do not care about safety beyond what is necessary to protect their assets. They would rather install a full blown security camera and tripwire system to keep you from stealing a single pencil than to invest a hundred bucks to change their smoke filters to keep their chimney from blowing a few metric tons of SOx into the surroundings unless you force them to.

And remember when trying to "force" a company that fines are nothing but a risk assessment factor. If it's cheaper to pay the fine than to heed the law, fines will be paid. If risk, fine and expenses are high enough, creating a shell daughter company that will carry the risk and be promptly sunk in case of an incident is also an option.

Laws are, to a company, just part of their risk management and cost calculation. Unless it's cheaper to follow the law than to break it, it will be ignored.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843656)

Which government regulation did this company violate to cause this accident? None.

If the government would have approved new plants this one could have been safely decommissioned and replaced by something much safer. So in this case it was actually government regulations which kept a horribly out of date reactor online well after its original EOL.

Re:If only big government had stayed off their bac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843674)

Ummm... How did regulations cause the reactor to be damaged before the disaster? Your rant about regulations makes absolutely no sense...

More true than you think (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843708)

What if the government did get off their backs, but the company was also 100% responsible for any damages related to unsafe operation? What happened here would be a death sentence for TEPCO, but becuase of the government involvement, TEPCO will survive its mistakes.

Re:More true than you think (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843948)

Who will take then TEPCO into account if any incidents would happen? Also, regulations and inspections are in place to prevent any incidents to happen in the first place.

Correction: What happened here would be a death sentence for TEPCO, but becuase of *bad* government involvement, TEPCO will survive its mistakes.

Corruption is on both sides, and if the government corrupt in a democracy it's the fault of it's citizens. The Japanese people have elected their government, so why are the Japanese not taking their government into account for their mistakes?

Excuse my pedantry. (1)

Dondoet (2199592) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842894)

But it's Caesium, not Cesium.

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (2)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842954)

English and American English spellings are different.

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843092)

Scientific standards and American people are incompatible.

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843206)

Scientific standards and American people are incompatible.

Good to see bigotry is still universal and thriving.

stupid is as stupid does (0)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843316)

I'm sorry [wikipedia.org] , you were saying?

Re:stupid is as stupid does (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843986)

What does the different between English and American spelling have to do with the difference between measurements systems? Other than the fact that some people hate America just 'cause.

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (0)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843488)

I'm a US citizen. I have never used Metric outside of math...... I WANT METRIC!

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843306)

While I'll give you the metric system (God how I wish that would takeover) there are many words that American English spells differently than European English. Saying one is wrong is like saying South Americans are incompatible with Spanish because they don't use the Castilian dialect. We don't all have to be the same. 3

Seriously, I feel so bad for the Japanese people. Such a small (geographically speaking) country but they've had so much radiation...

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842966)

Truly an element worthy of ruling an empire!!

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37842970)

Only in Commonwealth English. Remember, Slashdot is American. We don't do caesium, or aluminium.

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843050)

f--- you Ireland is not in the commonwealth! Ignorant American !

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843102)

Yea it really is, get over it.

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843242)

(I hope it's clear the joke is about how ridiculous and inaccurate supposedly PC phrases like "commonwealth English" are, and not about the ignorance of Americans, which would not be very PC of me)

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (0)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843584)

Does anybody know why Israel gets an entry in the Eurovision Song Contest?

PS: America had spelling reform in the 1800s to try and clean up the godawful mess that was (is) British Spelling. That's where the difference comes from, not because they're illiterate oafs.

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843778)

America had spelling reform in the 1800s to try and clean up the godawful mess that was (is) British Spelling. That's where the difference comes from, not because they're illiterate oafs.

Yeah and they mostly did a good job, with the obvious exception of "ax" in place of "axe." WTF were they thinking?

Excuse mine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843062)

But it's Caesium, not Cesium.

No, it's neither Caesium not Cesium, it's Cæsium :-P

Morituri te salutant!

Re:Excuse my pedantry. (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843264)

Yet you failed to knowtice* the misspelling of "contaminant"?

*started typing it this way, then decided it was funnier and kept it

What a surprise. (3, Funny)

rmstar (114746) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842906)

nuclear plant operators downplaying, obscuring, lying etc. I am genuinely shocked!1!!

Re:What a surprise. (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842982)

Doesn't have to be limited to nuclear plants: Business in general will always downplay / obscure / lie about the downsides of their activities.

In general, I'm aware that if something really went wrong in any kind of heavy industry near my home, I'd be Fuked.

Re:What a surprise. (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843068)

As an example, let's just think about BP for a second..

Re:What a surprise. (2)

elsurexiste (1758620) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843006)

I know of a nuclear power plant in Argentina that makes every employee and high level manager live near the facility (e.g., no farther than 5 km.), and they even let a few cows run in a tiny farm next to the plant. They do this for two reasons: so people won't freak out ("Those cows are healthy!") and to give its workers and managers a reason not to fool around.

Re:What a surprise. (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843158)

("Those cows are healthy!") and to give its workers and managers a reason not to fool around.

I'm not too sure what you are saying there. Are they hiring?

Re:What a surprise. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#37844016)

Did you not read the article? of course you didn't that would take time from you being a dumb ass.

The winds winds different then first thought. Maybe weathermen are part gf your grand conspiracy theory?

Re:What a surprise. (1)

werepants (1912634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37844026)

nuclear plant operators downplaying, obscuring, lying etc. I am genuinely shocked!1!!

Nuclear plant operators? Try the Japanese government. They estimated low, and now they are correcting the estimate. I know you can't be bothered to RTFA, but maybe you could, you know, RTFS?

That wacky Japanese language (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842910)

It also says that some Xenon-133 may have early on in the accident

Wow, I knew that Japanese tends to leave a lot of words out compared to English (Jay Rubin's Making Sense of Japanese [amazon.com] is an accessible introduction to this tendency), but I had no idea that it extended to leaving out the verb.

Re:That wacky Japanese language (2)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842946)

I accidentally 93MB of .rar files

Re:That wacky Japanese language (1)

broginator (1955750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843096)

The whole thing?

Re:That wacky Japanese language (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843132)

Well, afaik, even more weird, since in proper Japanese, all sentences must end with a verb.
Kind of a meltdown there...

blah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37842914)

me =/= give a crap

Greetings (0)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | more than 2 years ago | (#37842998)

Fear not, because I, the Campaign for a Free Internet, am GOD, so when we do the sexy it will make everything awesome and holey.

half as much as Chernobyl? (3, Informative)

deathplaybanjo (1735092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843024)

thats rather significant http://xkcd.com/radiation/ [xkcd.com]

Re:half as much as Chernobyl? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843080)

They aren't referring to the amount of radiation released in total; just to the amount of that one potential contamient. Also note that the output on that XKCD chart is for the total radiation you'd experience standing on the site of explosion *while* it was exploding.

Re:half as much as Chernobyl? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843176)

That chart does not give a dose for Chernobyl fall-out. It tells you how much you would get if you stood next to the reactor core. Which would be insane. Even standing next to a running or recently run core would be dangerous. The Cesium is dangerous from a biological stand point because it has chemical properties similar to calcium and can thus take it's place in living tissue. The problem is that it emits radiation inside the body and if it builds up and irradiates the same tissue over a period of time, you will get cancer. Walking around with double fallout would have no effect measurable effect on your cancer risk, however eating anything from probably would.

Japan's Chernobyl (1)

Just Brew It! (636086) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843078)

So in spite of early claims to the contrary, it is on the same order of magnitude as Chernobyl after all. Based on the new data, I wonder how large of an area around the facility needs to be abandoned, and for how long...

Re:Japan's Chernobyl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843126)

No it is not, and you obviously you don't understand what you mean when you say "order of magnitude".

Re:Japan's Chernobyl (2)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843204)

In terms of Cesium-137 maybe, but it's the uranium and plutonium around Chernobyl that are really dangerous.

That is to be nuanced (3, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843410)

U around Chernobyl might be polluting as heavy metal, but they are not dangerous per see to live "beside" as long as you do not ingest them. Heck, you can hold U 235 in your hand as long as you got a latex glove. Pu it depends on the isotope as Pu has a "relatively short" life comapred to U (Pu 239 has got a 24000 years half life). More problematic would be much shorter half life element, but still in the decades and century amount, like Cs 137. Because those are much more radioactive than U and Pu, but still long enough half life to be there for a long time. Much less a problem are isotopes which are highly radioactive, with minutes to a year of half life : by now they have gone thru so many half lives that not much is left (for 1 year half life , 20 years mean 1/(2^20)=less than 1 atoms left out of 1 million initially). So yeah, Cs is a big problem, bigger than U (heck some of which is released in the atmosphere by coal power) and Pu. The other one are more heavy metal pollution than radioactively dangerous , relatively speaking.

Re:Japan's Chernobyl (1)

werepants (1912634) | more than 2 years ago | (#37844070)

Actually, it looks like the cesium is the most significant part of the remaining radiation around Chernobyl:

"As of 2005, caesium-137 is the principal source of radiation in the zone of alienation around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesium-137 [wikipedia.org]

Re:Japan's Chernobyl (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843224)

Hmm, looking at the numbers...

From the pool of old fuel rods (NOT the reactors), we have 5kg of Cesium.

Plus a lot of Xenon. The Xenon release has a half life of ~126 hours. So, March 11 to today...

That leaves 0.000000000000074 of the original amount left. Or about 1MBq....

Oddly enough, most of this release seems to have happened as a side-effect of a complete lack of reprocessing of spent fuel rods, since they'd have been shipped off for reprocessing if that had been legal....

Re:Japan's Chernobyl (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843802)

I'm not sure anyone's managed to figure out an actually-safe way of reprocessing spent fuel yet.

give Mother Earth the day off... (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843256)

More importantly, does Japan have wolves?
You can't have a post-apocalyptic naturist utopia without radioactive wolves.
And cute little radioactive wolf puppies.

Nothing to see here. Move along. (1)

noems (942524) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843114)

This comes as no surprise. Everything they released to the press showed they were covering up their failures instead of fixing them. It was so obvious even a child could have told us.

100km or 62.14miles away. (4, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843120)

I'm going to be 100km away from that plant next year with my whole family. If, over the course of the few weeks holiday I become your radioactive giant IT guy / overlord. I expect you all to welcome me.
I'm not too sure what I'll do with all your base; but thems will belongs to us.
I'll also use my power to right wrongs.

Re:100km or 62.14miles away. (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843288)

I'll also use my power to right wrongs.

For great justice?

Re:100km or 62.14miles away. (1)

kikito (971480) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843358)

You have no chance to survive. Make your time.

Re:100km or 62.14miles away. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843366)

You're a better person than I am. I would use my power to wrong rights.

What do they expect? "Your country is inhabitable" (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843546)

What do they expect? "Your country is inhabitable"

No this wasn't Arizona from the 50s or from the locals formerly living around Bikini, Madrid, Harrisburg or Chernobyl.

Local devastation, global impact (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843574)

ftfpdf:
"...Precipitation deposited a large fraction of 137CS on land surfaces...The plume was also dispersed quickly over the entire Northern Hemisphere, first reaching North America on 15 March and Europe on 22 March."

After reading this, I wonder what kind of impact Nagasaki/Hiroshima/Chernobyl had globally. It seems to me that until we have a good disaster plan in place we should stop building these friggin things. We need a better a way of dealing with the catastrophes other than just waiting around for it to burn itself out. I really like going outside on nice days and *not* having to sleep under a lead blanket.

Re:Local devastation, global impact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843606)

Unfortunately, your fears will be labeled as irrational, you will be called a luddite (or perhaps a coal industry shill), and you will be ignored.

Re:Local devastation, global impact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843740)

It seems to me that until we have a good disaster plan in place we should stop building these friggin things. We need a better a way of dealing with the catastrophes other than just waiting around for it to burn itself out.

Isn't this the default for most forms of power generation? Coal is estimated to kill thousands in the US every year, mostly due to pollution. Photovoltaic cells have nasty chemicals and elements used in the manufacture. Hydro dams have failed. Wind is probably the safest, although it seems to be a matter of time before a wind farm kills an innocent bystander, and wind farms have already killed workers in various accidents.

Re:Local devastation, global impact (1)

dward90 (1813520) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843858)

Before you go all chicken little on nuclear power, find out how much 137CS "a large fraction" actually is. In my location in North America, the local nuclear experts saw a spike in Cesium equivalent to approximately one half of one banana [wikipedia.org] .

US is schizophrenic about nuclear power (1)

dtjohnson (102237) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843680)

On the one hand, it says nuclear power is green, carbon-free, let's build more nukes. On the other hand, it says all of the cs137 and sr90 waste from those nukes should sit in unsafe temporary storage sites forever rather than send it to Yucca mountain safe storage in Nevada. If nothing else, TFA should be a reminder that every nuke is cranking out long-lived cs137 and sr90 isotopes every day and they WILL go somewhere...hopefully not into our food chain like Fukishima's did.

Read the article; do the math; calm down (2, Informative)

Mike Greaves (1236) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843692)

These numbers aren't a big change from estimates 5 months ago.
42% of Chernobyl's Cs emission, but much lower land deposition - only 21% of total Cs emissions hit land.
And this is from 3 or 4 separate failures at old ill-prepared sites following a once-in-a-thousand-year quake which hit a chain of volcanic islands which are plagued by quakes.
Emission per failure is nearly a full order of magnitude below Chernobyl.
Total land deposition is also nearly a full order of magnitude below Chernobyl.
The lesson is to improve your game, not loose your cool.

more explanations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37843700)

Actually I don't get easily these kind of news. Does anyone have an easy explanation as in this video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sakN2hSVxA)?

heh (1)

jtrainor (820767) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843726)

This is a bit disingenous. Cesium quickly goes through the human system and thus isn't really a problem in small quantities.

Huh..Rariation?Wha Rariation???? (1, Informative)

englishstudent (1638477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37843982)

The Govt and TEPCO have been covering everything up from the get go. They are still telling people that it is ok to eat the food. Rice is within acceptable limits people! They should have quarantined everything off and thoroughly tested it before letting any food out of Fukushima/Chiba, but instead they assume innocent until proven guilty. To make matters worse, I believe that testing is largely left up to the Fukushima prefectural government. It is in their best interests (at least short term) to not find any radiation or at least not find amounts high enough to warrant banning produce. From what I understand of the situation, the cheeky bastards have been mixing radioactive produce (rice, milk) with non-radioactive produce so that the radiation level is within "acceptable limits". But I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Hell, they started planting fresh crops of rice in March. There are many ways to stick your head up your ass-this is just one of them.
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