The Fukushima reactor facility has suffered a substantial explosion:
The claim is that it’s a “hydrogen explosion,” rather than one of the reactor vessels themselves going “pop” like at Chernobyl. Even so, this is Not Good.
Anybody know why there’d be a large quantity of hydrogen on-hand at a nuclear reactor? One possibility is that water coolant was heated so much that it disassociated into hydrogen and oxygen, or the uranium in the reactor burning and tearing the water molecules apart to bond with the oxygen, leaving hydrogen. Neither one of these is a cheering possibility. If there is some more mundane reason for hydrogen to be on-hand in sizable quantites, I’d like to hear it.
So, history has taught us two important lessons about nuclear powerplant safety:
1: Don’t let it be designed, administered, regulated and operated by socialists.
2: Don’t build it on a friggen’ major earthquake zone, on the coast next to a tsunami zone.
What’s the lesson that is *likely* to be taught? The luddites and fearmongers will use this incident to further stymie efforts to restore the nuclear power program in the US. The reactor here is a forty year old design that got whacked with the seventh biggest earthquake since recording such things began, and took a thirty-foot tsunami. And since that original earthquake, it’s been kicked in the ass by *hundreds* of aftershocks, many of which would be substantial and newsworthy earthquakes in their own right.
And by the way: here’s an aerial tour of Minamisome, a coastal city of 71,000 that seems to have been completely washed away. Possibility exists that the ground subsided and the town actually *sank* into the sea. What’s especially spooky in the video is that the camera zooms in on a number of still-standing buildings… and there ain’t nobody on the roofs.
And entire city being washed away, killing potentially 71,000 people, will have a far greater deathtoll than any possible nuclear reactor disaster. But guess which one will get the headlines.