THE MEDIA AND THE FUKUSHIMA NUCLEAR PLANT
Adding to the terrible tragedy facing Japan is the continuing peril of the Fukashima Daiichi Nuclear Plant. The plant is in the worst hit region of Japan and although receiving little damage as a result of the actual Earthquake the subsequent Tsunami cause all of the backup generators needed to power the plant during the cooling down faze of the reactor rods, to fail as the 30 foot wave destroyed the diesel powered generators. Since then the brave workers of the plant have been fighting to keep the reactors from going into a complete melt down.
While the nuclear plant is a major story and an extremely difficult problem with possibly great ramifications, the media has not only blown this way out of proportion but is filling the airways with a great deal of false information in order to fill the 24/7 news cycle and create a sensational story. In the process it has become hard to find ANY news source actually covering the aftermath of the Quake and Tsunami from the perspective of the millions in Japan who are struggling each moment just to survive as well as find loved ones or the remains of those who are still missing.
This post is not written to down play the terrible nature of a nuclear plant possibly melting down but rather to place some sane perspective and correct some of the misinformation that is being spewed from media people who are seeking to politicize and sensationalize s story that already has terrible consequences related to it.
First I will refer you to this excellent article which goes into great detail as to why the plant though a problem will not become the Chernobyl re-creation that most in the media are using as a comparison. The comparison with Chernobyl is the greatest misinformation that is being given by a sensationalized media in the story of this disaster and possible nuclear melt down.
First a little truth about Chernobyl and why it does not compare to Fukushima. Chernobyl was a nuclear plant in the Ukraine operated by the Soviet Union who had a reputation for taking short cuts and not following strict safety standards in regards to the use of nuclear energy. The plant was in the midst of a power down to test the ability of the reactors to operate at a lower power out put. A test that plant operators were advised NOT to do because it could cause an explosion.
During the power down the situation got completely out of control and a melt down began with a devastating explosion accompanying the melt down. None of the Chernobyl reactors had any type of containment fields around them and as a result the full force of radiation escaped the plant with the explosion with nothing to contain either the blast or the effects of the melt down.
Fukushima is far different than Chernobyl. Not only are ALL of the reactors contained but each has three containment fields so that even if the worst case happens and a complete melt down occurs the radiation will not escape as it did in the Ukraine. The media has been dwelling on the radiation that is being released in the air as a result of the explosions which have taken place and the release of steam from the plant.
This radiation has a half life of 3.52 minutes which means that in less than four minutes the radiation decreases by 50% which takes it low enough to NOT be harmful to the environment or people. The explosions that have taken place are due to pressure built up from the heat of the rods and have ONLY destroyed the outer walls and roof of the enclosure at the plant which surrounds the radiation containment fields around each reactor. ALL of these fields are still intact.
Now even country's and politicians are starting to over react because of the misinformation by the media coming out of Japan. Two country's have shut down reactors built in the 80's as were those at the Fukushima plant and liberal politicians here in the States are calling for a moratorium on the construction of new plants in the US. Nuclear energy is safe when all of the necessary precautions are taken and those precautions were and still are being taken at the Fukushima plant even in the midst of the tragedy.
With few exceptions most of the," experts, " being paraded before the cameras by the press are ONLY telling the story from a perspective of total nuclear contamination without even taking into account the safety measures that are still in place at the Fukushima plant and are containing the worst of the problem. These, "experts," are using ONLY the Chernobyl example and neglecting any other reference other than possibly Three Mile Island which was completely contained but still caused the end of the US nuclear energy program until just recently.
There is far more to the tragedy taking place in Japan, yet 95% of the coverage is about the nuclear plant. As troubling as the plant situation is it should not over shadow the struggle of the Japanese people to just survive day to day in the aftermath of the Quake and Tsunami. They need the help of the world and the world is not being fully informed about their plight because of a media seeking sensationalism through a damaged nuclear plant, almost totally neglecting the real tragedy and the people who are caught up in it. Follow this link to see just how bad the devastation is.