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Common sense and natural disasters

March 11, 2011

If you have been paying any attention to the news, you know about the uber-earthquake that hit Japan yesterday.  I present you with two differing articles in regards to the aftermath of the quake, both focused on the nuclear power plants that have been effected by the disaster.  The first, Radiation Levels Surge Outside Two Nuclear Reactor Plants in Japan, is from Fox News, and while the title might sound a bit scary, the article for the most part is a straight reporting of the facts (as is the title I might add).  The second article is linked below:

Japan’s Nuclear Reactor Problems Grow More Serious

This second article is from MSNBC, and does not paint the prettiest of pictures, but what can you expect from a bunch of liberal over-reactors.  The funniest part of the article is when they decide to get some fair and balanced technical information as seen in this quote:

“It’s just as bad as it sounds,” he said. “What they have not been able to do is restore cooling of the radioactive core to prevent overheating and that’s causing a variety of problems, including a rise in temperature and pressure with the containment (buildings).

“What’s critical is, are they able to restore cooling and prevent fuel damage? If the fuel starts to get damaged, eventually it will melt through the reactor vessel and drop to the floor of the containment building,” raising the odds that highly radioactive materials could be released into the environment.

Holy crap!!!  We are all gonna die!!!  Well, not really.  You see, the folks at MSNBC thought the best source for unbiased information regarding nuclear power plants would come from the Union of Concerned Scientists, who are not big fans of nuclear energy.  In fact they have their own press release on the issue, title:

Nuclear Crisis in Japan

Wow, the hyperbole knob is cranked to eleven baby, ROCK ON!

So, let us get back to reality a little bit.  Regardless of which article you read, you will note an astonishing figure when not taken into context, the increase in radioactivity at the Fukushima Daichi Plant Reactor number 1.  Specifically (from Fox News):

Authorities said radiation levels had jumped 1,000 times normal inside Unit 1 and were measured at eight times normal outside the plant.

Now, I will give a nod to the MSNBC article at this point, because if you read it in it’s entirety you will find some very interesting stats that should belay any fears tehy generated in the first part of their apocalyptic prose.  Specifically, the level of radiation recorded inside the containment vessel measure at 7 millirems.  I won’t get into all the specifics on the unit of measure (mainly cause I have no freaking clue) but as a comparison, when you got your ankle x-rayed because you thought playing football at the age of 40 was a “good idea”, you were exposed to somewhere around 8-10 millirems.  Hell, just flying across the United States doses you for about 4 millirems.  So, as you can see, yes there is a radiation leak at the plant, and though I will agree “1000 times normal” initially scared the bejesus out of me, once you look into it a bit, you notice two things.

First, this nuclear catastrophe is in no ways catostrophic (not saying it can’t get there, but folks are jumping the gun a bit).

And second, how amazingly non-radioactive are nuclear plants to begin with when inside the reactor, the radiation is normally 1000 times less than a chest x-ray.  I find that remarkable.

This is all well and good, but I haven’t truly got to the point of this post yet.  The point is to prepare you dear readers for the soon to be had onslaught by “China Syndrome” fans everywhere pointing out how nuclear power is the bane to the existence of man.  Can you see the chants now, “Kill nuclear energy, before it kills us all” or, “Only Nazis like nuclear power”?

In response to our less brain-cell possessing neighbors, I off a photo-essay in response.  I title it, Why you shouldn’t build crap where Natural Disasters are most likely to occur (a little long-winded but I think it gets my point across):

More Hurricane Katrina pics – someone explain how this was Bush’s fault? 

Bay Bridge – San Francisco 1989 Earthquake measured at 7.0 

What used to be a town in Kansas until nature remembered to smite morons who live in Tornado Alley 

See libs, even your favorite communists the Chinese like to live in stupid locales

I am sure I don’t need to state the obvious, but I will do so anyway – all these freaking disasters happened because we decided to live in places where there are fault lines, freaking tornadoes or the land is below sea-level.  So, again, to state the obvious, nuclear power is not bad by any means, unless you build it on a freaking fault line!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. March 11, 2011 10:43 pm

    When I heard the media begin to talk about the nuclear “meltdown” potential in Japan the first thing that I thought of was that the left was going to use this as yet another excuse to eliminate nuclear energy as an option for a viable “alternative energy” source.

    • March 13, 2011 12:32 pm

      Oh yeah, for sure. “See, nuclear power is so dangerous, we need to close all nuclear facilities before we have a ‘China Syndrome’ and destroy the world!” Bunch of reactionary morons.

  2. March 12, 2011 10:50 am

    We all will be back living in the stone age since humans apparently appear to refrain from common sense, or use lots of denial.

    • March 13, 2011 12:31 pm

      IMO, if you choose to live somewhere where natural disasters occur more frequently, then you get what you pay for.

  3. March 12, 2011 3:37 pm

    Note that every single bit of this will somehow be connected to global warming.

    • March 13, 2011 12:30 pm

      Yeah, the “earth’ is punishing us again. Funny how libs can’t seem to bring themselves to even consider a higher power controlling the universe, but somehow the earth has a consciousness and can strike most unmercifully at us evil humans who deface her prestine beauty.

  4. JustFacts permalink
    March 13, 2011 8:27 am

    Just wanted to add a little clarity to the actual numbers related by your post. I was employed by one of the larger nuclear power utilities in this country for some 20+ years. During those years I was assigned to work in various capacities in and around 4 nuclear power plants. In those years, I acquired a total radiation dose of 0 millirem (mrem) as recorded on my dosimetry. Per the USNRC I would have been allowed to acquire 5000 mrem per year. That would equate to over 100,000 mrem in my 20+ years of employment. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that I didn’t get that exposure because any is too much.

    And, by the way, when you talk about mrem, you really have to include a time element. For instance the article stated 7 mrem/hr inside containment. You can’t just say the dose inside containment is 7 mrem, because it would make a significant difference whether that was over an hour or a year.

    As your post enlightens, concerning flying to LA, you would get about half the dose of what you would get in one hour inside containment in the Japanese plant. If you lived in Denver, you would pick up about 1 mrem for every 2 days you lived there. That would be about 183 mrem exposure just from living and working in the Mile High City for one year.

    The loss in life expectancy from a 1 mrem dose is approx 1.2 minutes. That’s equivalent to crossing the street 3 times, 3 puffs on a cigarette, or 10 extra calories eaten by an overweight person. (The above analogies are taken from Cohen, A. B., Concepts of Nuclear Physics, McGraw-Hill, 1971) So, for those health nuts out there, your one year of living in Denver will cost you about 3.7 hrs of your life. That equates to almost 1 year lost over an 85 year lifetime. Throw in a few dental xrays or a steady diet of bananas and you would lower your longevity even more. Yeah that’s right. The ubiquitous banana is a radiation “hazard”. Eat one banana a day for a year and you will get about 3.6 mrem and lose about 6 hrs of life in those 85 yrs.

    If you live in a region where you derive your electric power from coal-fired power plants, you will actually have much more background radiation in your environment than you would living right next to a nuclear power plant. That’s because coal contains low levels of radiation. When it is pulverized to burn in the coal-fired plant, or becomes fly-ash after burning, that radiation gets released into the atmosphere.

    So, what I am saying is, the media is trying to scare us by using numbers like “1000 times the normal level of radiation”. If “normal” is zero (or virtually zero), 1000 times that is still virtually zero. When you hear about the Japanese evacuating hundreds of thousands of people, that is because they want to err on the side of safety, just as hopefully our officials would try to do. You have to put it all into perspective.

    Sometimes more information provided to the unenlightened, is just used to sell more newspapers, raise television ratings, or boost careers. In this information age, we are bomdarded with glaring “NEWS ALERTS” on a daily basis, but if we don’t have the actual knowledge to equate that information to something in our daily life, are we really any better off? If we “buy” the hysteria provided in a 30 second sound byte, our lives will be constantly in a “state of fear”. Hey, that sounds like a good title for a book. 8^) (Compliments to the late Michael Crichton)

    • March 13, 2011 12:28 pm

      Good stuff, you make my point much better than I ever could. I did not stress enough the point that 1000 times is not a big deal when you compare it to the standard radiation level, because the standard is practically non-existent.

      As far as the evacuations are concerned, you are exactly correct. I wanted to mention in my post, especially for the libs out there who are so fearful of nuclear power – we are talking about the Japanese here. They, which all the libs definitely know, are the only people to have ever been nuked, and that part of their history still effects their identity as a nation. For them to embrace nuclear power after having been nuked themselves, should speak to the benign nature of the power source, and the utter ridiculousness of the left in their fear of the same.

  5. Freedom, by the way permalink
    March 13, 2011 10:04 am

    The “scariest” part of this entire post was your reference to “The Union of Concerned Scientists”. I had never heard of this bunch, but they sound pretty scarey to me! (btw, I found your blog on Crockett Lives).

    • March 13, 2011 12:22 pm

      Thanks for dropping by, and thanks to Crockett. =)

      Yeah, the Union of Concerned Scientists are a pretty scary bunch. I belong to the Union of Unconcerned Bloggers, lol.

  6. KingShamus permalink
    March 15, 2011 11:32 am

    Nice work, Fleece.

    How’s this sound: Live in wacky natural-disaster prone places if you want. Take the risk if you think you can afford it. Just don’t lose your shit when Nature loses her’s.

  7. Guy permalink
    March 20, 2011 9:13 pm

    Yeah I think those Japs are at fault for living in Japan! How stupid is that! Here in Arkansas I would like a nuclear reactor in my suburb because its the American thing to do. Radiation is just a Liberal conspiracy, I mean Roosevelt was a Liberal wasn’t he?
    As for Katrina being Bush’s fault…hell yeah….why was he suposed to take action to help all those blacks in New Orleans when they DIDNT EVEN VOTE FOR HIM!?

    • March 23, 2011 12:11 pm

      Japs? Seriously? I know you are trying to be sarcastic, but all you are truly showing is your inherent liberal racism.

      As far as Katrina, sense you are being a moron, I will treat you as one – the actual freaking hurricane was not his fault, as far as his actions post-disaster, in recent light of Obama’s stellar response to the disasters that have occurred under his watch, Bush looks like Johnny on the spot.

  8. March 22, 2011 10:28 pm

    I live in San Francisco and I’m well aware the “big one” could hit causing me a lot of problems. I won’t whine about it (or live on landfill).


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