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March 18, 2011



After you open the link, look on the top right of the screen and click the “debunk” video. It is worth it.

Weather Channel founder debunks So. Cal. Radiation threat


Chaco says it's less alarming than it sounds.


From the NYT link:

In a further sign of spreading alarm that uranium in the Japanese plant could begin to melt, Japan planned to import about 150 tons of boron from South Korea and France to mix with water to be sprayed onto damaged reactors, French and South Korean officials said Friday.

A responsible journalist might determine that since they have been injecting boric acid for a week now, and will have to continue to do so for some time, that perhaps it is a "further sign" of a need to resupply their boron supplies not of spreading alarm.
Barring the tiny chance of some unforeseen cataclysm, this thing has peaked and will continue to improve.

Charlie (Colorado)

Oh, sweet Jaysus. Thanks for pointing that out Ignatz.

Rob Crawford

Bah. That's just more proof that something horrible is happening. As authorities are not denying it, I'm predicting that either the worst has passed, or that the failed reactors have opened a dimensional gate and Things from the Other are pouring through as we speak.


Ignatz, if all newspaper readers exercised the same caution when reading carp like that where would we be? Seriously..Mr. No Drama, please, I'm a logical person?

Cohen the Barbarian

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are missing with estimates as high as one hundred thousand, there's all kinds of suffering because of cold weather, no shelter... Where's the oh so caring press? Sensation not information, that's what it's all about. Go to mitnse.com for genuine information.


Christian Science Monitor article that TM linked earlier was interesting. These problems then appear to be with the spent fuel rods, not main reactor...

Lots of speculation, little real information.


Personally, I enjoy self-refutation in my NYT articles:

First sentence, paragraph 2:

As the crisis seemed to deepen, Japan’s nuclear safety agency raised the assessment of its severity to 5 from 4 on a 7-level international scale.

First sentnece, pargraph 3:

It was not immediately clear why the action had been taken now...

Following Cohen's good suggestion.



I'm predicting that either the worst has passed, or that the failed reactors have opened a dimensional gate and Things from the Other are pouring through as we speak.

The Crawford Corollary to Godwin's Law: As a JOM thread gets longer, the probability of someone mentioning Cthulhu approaches 1.


I suspect the concept of storing spent fuel rods onsite may be rethought.
The problem of having to secure a new area probably should be overridden by the advantage of being able to design a gravity fed and therefore nearly foolproof method of emergency cooling and the added benefit of access not being denied or limited by problems with a reactor itself.


Does it mean something if the Cthulhu reference occurs very early in the thread?

Rob Crawford

I did not say Cthulhu.

He's not on the Other Side. He's in Ryleh, which is at the bottom of the Pacific somewhere north of Australia.

Anyone else read the Repairman Jack books?


Another Narita, Japan update. (Again haven't read a thread or post in 2 days.)

Walked downtown yesterday and tho' I saw some significant cracks in the pavement and many roofs with structural failings of roof tiles, overall the city seemed in good shape. Looked like the old Temple structures came thru' just fine.

Chowed down like horses at a local all you can eat Tepanyaki Restaurant. We were the only customers for 2 hours and had 2 decent tremors and 2 pints of Sapporo. Then waddled up to the Jet Lag Club.

My current fave Narita bargirl, Lee-ann from the Philippines, was working and she gave me her earthquake story. Great girl. Very into working for the community. Described well the scariness of the big earthquake and racing out into the street for safety, and even more of the following biggest aftershock that really shook things up locally. Said that even with all that, that business that evening was good, but that each night since it had steadily declined. I asked how was St Paddy's Day business and she was unaware that St Paddy's Day had even come and gone. She said March 14th was some sort of local Valentine festival, usually jam-packed, but that this time it was completely dead, so business had been awful.

The Belgium boss and owner, (a good friend) in answer to my many prying and poking questions, had an interesting story. Said he had been at the bank on the second floor waiting for a receipt for rent paid. Said the place started shaking something fierce, but him not being so used to big quakes, he didn't know it was something way out of the ordinary, so he was wondering why it was taking so long to get his receipt. Said he was exasperatedly watching the teller girls all sort of flummoxed from the shaking, and then upon noticing stuff falling from the ceiling, he decided to put on his Motorcycle helmut as a precaution while he waited. That image of him in my mind's eye is hysterical:)

He said that later via CNN news reports he had determined that the meltdown would occur or be stopped within 48 hours, so he made reservations in prep for himself and the Japanese wife and dog to get out of Japan ASAP. He said he told this to the Japanese wife who replied that the local news reports were much less fatalistic, and that she believed them and thought leaving was unnecessary. Then she told him that as a Japanese person it would be shameful for her to run away when brave Japanese men (the Fukushima 50) were so bravely sacrificing all in trying to save the Nuclear Plant, and that if he wanted to leave it was okay but she was not leaving their home until the Government told her to go. My friend was very calmly going "Ai Yi Yi" in his mind because he was influenced by BBC/CNN International, but said he was not going anywhere without his wife so that decision was made; They were staying put. I thanked him for this comment as I thought it really taught me a lot about the Japanese character, and he agreed that it did. (FWIW I have met her many times, and she is polite and gorgeous and very smart--and also obviously very tough.)

All this while we all drank beers and watched local programming of "Poltergeist" in Japanese, and watched various aviation crash videos on the overhead screens. I thought that bizarre on the heels of such a tragedy, but oh well. Anyhow, after 2 or 3 pints of Yebisu, (a decent lager) reliable rumors were now repeated that the US Government had ordered the evacuation of the military dependents at the nearby US Naval Airbase of Atsugi. (I think this one is true.) Earlier rumor's had also said that at traditional aircraft usage rates, the unreplenished reservoir of Jet Fuel at Narita would dwindle to nil by the 26th latest, and rumors of the International airlines moving 300 miles south to Osaka as a consequence were in the air. This contingency made sense, as discussing fuel on deck at Narita we all discovered we had landed with many many more thousands of Jet Fuel Gallons on board than would normally be the case. This indicated we were tankering AvGas thru' Narita and I agree with that rumor.

Just before leaving, the Belgium boss and a Japanese customer told me that they had just seen on local news that the crisis had turned good, as the new electrical cable had successfully been re-connected to the Fukushima Plant and that officials were hopeful things could be brought back under control. I have no independent evidence for that at all, but hope it is true. Now to start trying to catch up.


Captain Hate

I don't know if this is the proper thread for it but it seems that Jugears McFly wil interrupt NCAA action on CBS for some national address. Is there anything BOzo won't screw up? Hopefully he won't be discussing his picks or we get to see Moochelle in a thong::vomit::

Jane (sit on the couch or save your country)

Every night when I go to bed I hear that Japan is not going to make it thru the night - the reactors are ready to blow.

Every day I hear we are nearly out of danger.

I think I give up.


I think I give up.

The sad part is that even if, as seems likely, this turns out to be a relatively minor problem in terms of actual casualties, it won't make any difference to the anti-nuke agenda of the MSM and Hollywood. They will talk about the "narrow escape," and how "we were lucky this time," or they will make up numbers about how many people will get cancer, and will carry on just as if it were a genuine calamity. Three Mile Island is still thought of as a disaster in the popular imagination.


It's like that old Danny Kaye movie where he finds himself back in time where the folks think the eclipse is magic, isn't it?

Captain Hate

With the almost complete paucity of erudite movie scripts, I'm sure a remake of "The China Syndrome" has just been fast tracked.


Here is a cool world nuclear news article analyzing the currently-available information about the reactors.

Market Wane.

Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

Rob Crawford

With the almost complete paucity of erudite movie scripts, I'm sure a remake of "The China Syndrome" has just been fast tracked.

There's another "Superman" in the works. And a "Spiderman" 'reboot'.

Hollywood has no brains.

I'd love to see a well made "Ringworld". Or "The Mote in God's Eye". Or "Footfall". Or "Starship Troopers".

Someone -- I think at Big Hollywood -- said that cable TV has been doing a better job than Hollywood, at least in terms of originality and interesting. Toss in some of the overseas productions, like the Sky1 miniseries versions of some of Terry Pratchett's stories, and I have to agree.

(Seriously, check the cast of "The Color of Magic", LUN.)

Cecil Turner

Barring the tiny chance of some unforeseen cataclysm, this thing has peaked and will continue to improve.

That's the way I see it, too. I'm back in Osaka for another day, so am paying a bit more attention (though that's still a loooong way from the affected area). Saw my first radiological warning in the flight weather packet, and an airborne "RAD CLD" warning (of unknown intensity) east of Sendai (surprisingly far . . . ~100 mi? . . . dunno how they figured that one). But a quick check of the radiation readings suggests the highest levels outside the exclusion zone is about .008 rem/hr, which is just not a significant health risk. It could still go south, but the risk falls every day it doesn't.


I've never seen anything explaining how radiation dissipates. Am assuming it just "goes into the ether".

Rob Crawford

I've never seen anything explaining how radiation dissipates.

The actual bits of "radiation" -- alpha and beta particles, gamma rays -- fly straight out until they hit something. They either heat that thing up or give it an electrical charge or join with the nucleus of whatever they hit and change it to a different isotope. Every element comes in multiple isotopes; they're chemically identical, but have different numbers of particles in their nucleus.

The isotopes breakdown, giving out radiation and changing into different elements or isotopes. The breakdown path leads them to more and more stable isotopes.

Short-lived isotopes are the most dangerous -- they breakdown quickly, giving off lots of radiation -- but also, well, they breakdown quickly, so they aren't around as long.

Long-lived isotopes are less dangerous -- they breakdown slowly, so they give off less radiation. On the flip side, they're around longer.

The biggest danger is a LOT of short-lived isotopes being released and carried a long distance QUICKLY.


The breakdown path leads them to more and more stable isotopes

That's encouraging Rob. Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply!

Rob Crawford

I'm hoping Charlie comes along and points out what I got wrong. It's been a while since I studied this stuff.


Easy to understand article on ionizing radiation here at Wikipedia glasater. Wiki is useful for some things.

hit and run

I'm back in Osaka for another day

Too far away to hook up with Daddy in Narita,I suppose.

In case you missed it in an earlier thread: locals want you to maintain the poise and confidence of a seasoned athlete to help keep their spirits up...

Captain Hate

I'd love to see a well made "Ringworld". Or "The Mote in God's Eye". Or "Footfall". Or "Starship Troopers".

Childhood's End

Rob Crawford

Rather see "Rendezvous with Rama".

Cecil Turner

. . . locals want you to maintain the poise and confidence of a seasoned athlete . . .

Heh. I'll try to fake it. Thanks.

Melinda Romanoff

Not chemically identical, they have different atomic weights (weight of the nucleus, the # of protons + the # of neutrons= Atomic Weight). Variations of the atomic weight from the most stable form of the element, as listed on the periodic table, will be it's isotopes. The number of electrons will vary as determined by the atomic weight. Decay rates, or half-lives, will be shorter the further away from the most commonly found state of that element.

Isotopes are, by definition, excited states of its most stable cousin. As they try to revert to that most common stable state, the isotope releases the energy, in various forms of radiation, as it moves away from that initial, excited state.

The higher the excited state, the more energy released.

The engineering part of a reactor core is controlling the decay in a reasonable manner, while using some of that energy on its way down the Atomic scale.


btw, anyone catch the V season (and probably
series finale) it's like the last act of Hamlet, with a twist.


Meanwhile Pete Wehner, really needs to go back to grammar school, so severe is his cluelessness, again nothing we didn't already know.

Mark Folkestad

Mel, are you sure that you meant to say "not chemically identical"? I dropped my chemistry major early, but I've never heard that different isotopes of an element have different chemical properties. As long as they have an identical count of protons, they should behave the same chemically, shouldn't they?

Barry "Give It To Me Neat Frankie" Soetoro

My putter is sunburned. Who knew the Nips were going to start sellin Treasuries and not buy any for awhile. And what is with that cur Hillary callin us "amateur hour?" Moo-Chelle in a thong? News to me. She a UnderArmor kinda thang. Now Val Jarret in a thong. She kinda like good in nat. What I know. I like boy.


narciso, you think V will be canceled?

Yes, I saw it, they sure wiped out a few of the cast there, you'd think it was MI-5.


The sad part is that even if, as seems likely, this turns out to be a relatively minor problem in terms of actual casualties

What *are* the actual casualties? I mean from the reactor problems, not the thousands dead and missing from the other effects of the earthquake/tsunami.

Cecil Turner

AFAICT: 0 dead, less than ten injured (most/all from the hydrogen explosions). The radiation effects on workers is unknown.


So, in other words, fewer people than died in Ted Kennedy's car.

Cecil Turner

So far, yes.

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