Remember last week, before the Libya bombings? Weren’t we talking about an imminent nuclear meltdown in Japan?
Hmm. I wonder what happened with that:
Amazing, isn’t it, what a little light military intervention can do to a nuclear crisis?
One minute, the world is facing nuclear meltdown armageddon to rank with – ooh, Three Mile Island at the very least, and quite possibly Chernobyl. A few (shockingly expensive) missile strikes over Benghazi and Tripoli later, though, and the Japanese nuclear crisis has all but vanished from the face of the earth.
Maybe we should start small wars more often. Or maybe – even better – the MSM could learn to start reporting on nuclear incidents like journalists instead of activists from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth.
That’s from James Delingpole, one of the guys that I’ve been trusting on this Japanese nuclear issue. He is exactly right about the media, which have, for the most part, alarmed people about the threat of a nuclear meltdown. I can understand why some Japanese might be concerned, but when Californians are rushing en masse to buy iodide pills, something must be wrong.
I’m not sure if this anti-nuclear bias is because the media are mostly left-wing hacks or because they just like to scare people. Local news in Miami, for instance, is famous for following (if not starting) the “if it bleeds, it leads” doctrine, putting on bloody stories about murder, rape, and other felonious activity to scare the hell out of people and keep them glued to the TV.
Anyway, Delingpole quotes a journalist named Lewis Page, who says he’s ashamed to be called a journalist in moments like these. Page goes on to put the Japanese story in perspective:
The Fukushima reactors actually came through the quake with flying colours despite the fact that it was five times stronger than they had been built to withstand. Only with the following tsunami – again, bigger than the design allowed for – did problems develop, and these problems seem likely to end in insignificant consequences. The Nos 1, 2 and 3 reactors at Daiichi may never produce power again – though this is not certain – but the likelihood is that Nos 4, 5 and 6 will return to service behind a bigger tsunami barrier.
The lesson to learn here is that if your country is hit by a monster earthquake and tsunami, one of the safest places to be is at the local nuclear powerplant. Other Japanese nuclear powerplants in the quake-stricken area, in fact, are sheltering homeless refugees in their buildings – which are some of the few in the region left standing at all, let alone with heating, water and other amenities.
Nothing else in the quake-stricken area has come through anything like as well as the nuclear power stations, or with so little harm to the population. All other forms of infrastructure – transport, housing, industries – have failed the people in and around them comprehensively, leading to deaths most probably in the tens of thousands. Fires, explosions and tank/pipeline ruptures all across the region will have done incalculably more environmental damage, distributed hugely greater amounts of carcinogens than Fukushima Daiichi – which has so far emitted almost nothing but radioactive steam (which becomes non-radioactive within minutes of being generated).
And yet nobody will say after this: “don’t build roads; don’t build towns; don’t build ships or chemical plants or oil refineries or railways”. That would be ridiculous, of course, even though having all those things has actually led to terrible loss of life, destruction and pollution in the quake’s wake.
But far and away more ridiculously, a lot of people are already saying that Fukushima with its probable zero consequences means that no new nuclear powerplants should ever be built again.
We should be concerned about nuclear safety. It would be foolish not to be. But to outright ban nuclear power, as some on the left want, would be a horrible mistake. The media’s hysteria, unfortunately, has done incalculable damage to the future of nuclear power in America and around the world.