Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan Update

Just read some first-hand on-the-ground email from Japan, which I don't have permission to quote, but which can be usefully summarized.  The key point is that, whatever you see on CNN, a lot of Japan is actually something like close to normal.   Tokyo is open for business as for the heavily populated industrial heartland to the south; also (more of a surprise to me) the far north island of Hokkaido.  They're having aftershocks and they're being told they will face rolling power outages but (another surprise?) they haven't started yet.

And the nukes--boy, the nukes.  Still too early to guess how that will play out.   I grant that my first thought was--oboy, as a political program, nuclear power is dead.  Well, maybe.   I can't really blame the networks for showcasing nukes over the weekend; nobody wants to underestimate the threat of a nuclear disaster.  But if it turns out that the Japanese somehow dodged a plutonium bullet here, I wonder if maybe nukes will come charging back stronger than ever.  Like the stock market "crash" of 1987 which taught a generation of traders that market busts don't matter (sarcasm).  

Update to update:  well, you pays your money .... link.


Ken Houghton said...

As I noted, part of this is Bad Luck: when your plants are scheduled to be decommissioned on 26 March and the earthquake hits on 11 March, you have a problem.

That forty-year-old plants surbvived as well as they did is a tribute to their design; that nuclear plants apparently need to have a payback period of no more than forty years is a major problem.

That said, the "just don't build on a fault line" meme seems at best optimistic. (Though I'm thinking more fondly than usual of the windmill farm on I-5 in CA.)

captcha: dowse, which is even less reliable

New York Crank said...

TEX: You boys in the clerical department stay here and take care of bidness in Japan. I'll go out and scout the terrain to make sure nobody's sneaking up on us out there in Hong Kong.

CLERK: When will you be back, boss?

TEX: Don't fret about it, son. You know I'd prefer to stay here with you. But I have to do my duty.

Buce said...

Ah, I remember my (short) in an Army machine gun company. Our job was to carry those damn things uphill, and then dig in, and stay behind to cover the retreat.