Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A few lonely voices of reason crying in the media babble

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Two-plus weeks on, and the ludicrous media hysteria around Fukushima is finally starting to die a painful, gasping death.

We also start to see the occasional rational analysis of the entire affair:

Your Man In Japan
Praying for meltdown: The media and the nukes (The Register)

Fukushima scaremongers becoming increasingly desperate (also The Register)

Unfortunately, these are still few and far between.

As horrible as it may seem, one wonders what would have happened if all the affected nuclear reactors had simply been destroyed.

More lives would have been lost.  But they would only be a small fraction of the total lives lost, and probably wouldn't even be remarked upon by the mainstream media.

The nuclear fuel would probably have been scattered across the Japanese coastline.  A few might have ended up in the ocean.  Both situations likely gathering a few one-liners like 'Scientists are not expecting any long-term damage from the uranium fuel rods." or "Rescuers have been forced to contend with additional hazards such as building collapse, aftershocks, and even radioactive fuel rods from the destroyed nuclear reactors." Thanks, Julie, now we return to our main coverage.

A few "journalists" might have remarked that the loss of significant amounts of generating capacity would impact Japanese industry.  Of course, all the transmission lines, distribution stations, local transformers, and so forth WERE utterly destroyed anyway, so that wouldn't really be news anyway.

Not to mention the airports, factories and - oh yes, almost forgot - tens of thousands of workers (read: PEOPLE) who were killed, injured, left homeless, and deprived of adequate food, water, shelter, and clothing in Japan's bitter winter.  Surely that would be the bigger story, yes?

Conclusion:  if the plants had been wiped off the map, the mainstream media would not be giving Japan's nuclear industry a second look - because it wouldn't be sensational enough.

No, the worst thing that could happen did happen - after the worst disaster in recorded history, the nuclear plants remained standing, largely functional and adequately staffed.

They had some significant technical difficulties that were rapidly overcome.  These resulted in utterly insignificant amounts of radioactive material being released to drift over the ocean, to disperse to practical nothingness within a few days.

The disaster virtually isolated the plants, destroying all conventional routes for transportation and communications and all supporting infrastructure such as electrical power, water, sewer and so forth, compounding the difficulty.  And even with all of that, backup systems functioned, and the plant operators were able to invent and rapidly execute contingency plans to control their operations safely and with nearly zero casualties, including a couple of workers who got sunburned legs from

All of this because immensely dedicated staff, in spite of nearly unbearable personal loss from the disaster, stayed (and in many cases, volunteered to stay) at the plant and take on extremely stressful work under cramped, uncomfortable, 24-hour-a-day conditions with inadequate food, water, and other basic supplies.  They eat crackers, sleep on the floor with a single blanket, and heaven only knows where they toliet.

Dramatic, yes.  Heroic, absolutely.  Serious - yes, of course.  Disastrous?  Nope.  Chernobyl?  Not a chance - despite all the apparent hopes of news producers worldwide.  We are all thanking that they are disappointed, but really, they had unrealistic expectations.

The China Syndrome-esque reaction from the media regarding Fukushima defies description.  Really, it does.  Words fail cannot adequately express the impossibly braid-dead, fear-mongering, panic-stricken sewer water that vomited forth from every media outlet a soon as they espied the magic word, "nuclear".

Except, oddly enough, in Japan itself.  According to some, anyway, it's business as usual in the 90% of the country that is still intact and standing.  I believe it.

The cynical among us might even think that the news agencies were hungry for something - anything - to come along that they could make in to a nuclear "crisis".  Face it, most news is pretty boring, and every media outlet is under increasing financial pressure.  Minor wars in far-away countries seem to be dime-a-dozen these days, and it's hard to get too many people excited about a few practice astronauts doing a dry run to Mars in a wooden spaceship.

You know, people in some countries have been jailed for inciting panic in connection to Fukushima.  And yet every mainstream media outlet in the Western world has produced the same complete, one-hundred-percent pure-quill prime Grade-A pig feces that these individuals have been accused of.  It would be poetic justice if somebody, somewhere, made any of you account for your words.

You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

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