Much of the news coverage of the Fukushima nuclear plant centered on the release of radiation, the threat of a melt down and whether something similar could happen here. The coverage was considerably better than I expected from media that are not noted for handling complex and technical stories with any kind of detail. They did at least indicate that the kind of radiation released is important. But many of the most important questions were not really asked. They might get some play if one line of the story this morning is true--they said that the waste containment pool of one of the plants was boiling. The waste and how it is stored has always been a bigger concern for me than the simple operation of the plant. This Stratfor report indicates that the situation is, indeed, becoming more serious. One of the troubling aspects of the coverage of our own nuclear power industry is the prevalent notion that 'it can't happen here.' Chernobyl wasn't Three Mile Island either and Fukushima isn't either of those. And the next nuclear disaster won't be Fukushima II.
However, another problem comes to mind--can we really trust the so-called experts and authorities? As anyone who reads these blogs know I am a confirmed skeptic on almost all issues. And I don't believe much of what I read and the rest I take with a ton of salt. This Crooks & Liars post demonstrates why. We never get the 'full' story on anything and, with technology related stories, most of us do not have the expertise to make anything like an informed assessment. The basic question I have on most of these issues is: Can we really trust companies whose reason for existence is profit to make decisions for the good of the people generally that might reduce that profit? I don't thinks so. After all, in our system the damages they can expect to pay in the case of even a catastrophic mishap is simply a 'cost of doing business' and already considered in their operating budgets. I don't like being anyone's 'cost of doing business.'
Charles Hughes Smith at Of Two Minds has an interesting article that discusses the potential impacts of the unrest in the middle east and the Japanese earthquake/tsunami on the global economy. Gives one some food for thought.