The Great Disaster Porn Freak-Out of 2011

1000 times normal! Meltdown! Evacuations! CHERNOBYL!

After spending countless hours watching burning cows sweep cars and planes onto rooftops from a swell of mud, it isn’t too hard to visualize a failing nuclear reactor evaporating into a mushroom cloud. It’s not just a function of expecting insult to compound injury; there simply aren’t any stories about nuclear plant disasters with happy endings.

But over the course of the day, the drum beat of the gloom and doom crowd just got louder. And it wasn’t that I faulted anyone for their concern; rather, it was that none of those same folks (particularly journalists) were making any effort to actually, you know, learn something about what was going on. Eventually, cooler heads emerged and the volume of chicken-little-ism diminished slightly, but equally often you’d catch folks saying things like “if nothing’s wrong, why are they evacuating so many people?”

Exacerbated by a media-driven narrative devoid of context, the subject quickly became intolerable.

1. There are still some pretty catastrophic developments that have to take place before “the worst case scenario” plays out.

2. Given that this is occurring within the context of an 8.9 magnitude earthquake whose aftershocks were still being reported as recently as this afternoon? It’s hardly a commentary on nuclear safety from anyone’s perspective. It probably wouldn’t survive a giant meteor or an attack by a 500 foot cow, either.

But I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that little to nothing comes of it. This was my impression when the story broke and it remains only slightly less my impression now for want of being able to get a sufficient volume of water onto those tubes full of radioactive crap.

On the flip side? This could turn out to be the story about the nuclear plant that survived an 8.9 and DIDN’T turn the countryside into radioactive mutants.

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  • Comments (5)
    • Silver12
    • March 14th, 2011

    HI max, miss the syfy forums, but most people aren’t there anymore.

      • Max Bell
      • March 14th, 2011

      No, I haven’t been in ages. And Facebook gives me gas…

    • nusz
    • March 14th, 2011

    still_broke;_shall_i_look_into_bringing_a_dominion_crew_to_you?

      • Max Bell
      • March 14th, 2011

      Yes, although you’d necessarily probably want to give it a couple more weeks, as I’m kind of healing up for the spring, recently. The cold snap and snow we had a short while back had some effect, although I both expected this of the season and expect to be in much better shape as it begins to warm up.

    • Kait
    • March 21st, 2011

    From an engineering standpoint the plant is a success from the sheer fact that it’s still standing. It was only rated for a 7.9 earthquake tops, and for a significantly smaller wave than the one that hit.

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