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Japan Dodges a Radioactive Bullet

Sunday a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck Japan. The entire Kashiwazaki nuclear power generating station, the world’s largest nuke facility with seven reactors, shut down.

At least one reactor spewed “slightly radioactive” coolant into the Sea of Japan. But early reports, of course, assured the public there were NO radioactive leaks.

A fire in the switchyard kept local firefighters busy for more than two hours, spewing thick, terrifying black smoke into the air (but the real danger from a nuclear reactor — radioactive poison — is INVISIBLE).

Four reactors were automatically SCRAMed, a violent, sudden, dangerous stoppage. The other three reactors at the facility were shut down “voluntarily, for inspection.”

Kashiwazaki’s 8,212 megawatts of total generating capacity is enough for about 16 million homes in Japan (or for about half many homes in America).

So just as hospitals, pumping stations, and individuals desperately needed power to recover from the earthquake, NONE was being delivered by the facility, after an earthquake that was far smaller than the size the facility is supposed to be able to withstand.

The feared tsunami never came. Nukes worldwide are NOT protected against reasonably foreseeable tsunami wave heights.

Japan dodged a bullet THIS TIME, but disaster awaits …

RUSSELL D. HOFFMAN, a computer programmer in Carlsbad, California, has written extensively about nuclear power. His essays have been translated into several different languages and published in more than a dozen countries. He can be reached at: rhoffman@animatedsoftware.com