Japan Moves 8’; Earth 10”; Reactors Deteriorate;
Nuclear-Waste Cataclysm Awaits???
Murphy’s Law and recently revealed Japanese nuclear-incompetence may be setting the world up for an absolute disaster. First the background: The entire nation of Japan and all its islands moved a full eight feet closer to the United States; and the entire earth was shifted ten inches on its axis (and rotational speed slowed slightly) by the recent 8.9 mega-quake striking the sea floor near northeast Japan. The ensuing tsunami (tidal wave) was, naturally enough, worse than anyone prepared for . . . in other words an unimaginable amount of power struck the Japanese and unimaginably devastating consequences are now happening.
Unimaginable to you and me is not the same as "unforeseeable" in the world of engineering, or shouldn’t be. However, the up-to-now competent Japanese engineering community seems to have blundered badly in one respect that might soon come to haunt them and many of us: nuclear waste storage. Incredibly enough, reports say that the Japanese have been storing the radioactive waste on site – get this – in rooms above the reactor containment areas. It doesn’t take a genius to see that this sort of idiocy could instantaneously turn the worst-case scenario into a mega-disaster for the ages.
Murphy ’s Law (“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way!”) is now in play. The densely-populated Japanese islands hold fifty-five reactors. Many of them have been idiotically clumped together (economical in many ways, but dangerous to the nth degree) so unfortunately, threats to one reactor’s core could conceivably threaten the whole group and even make normal human operation of the nearby ones impossible.
Three of those reactors (two at the Fukushima site) have now been assigned to the scrap heap as emergency sea water cooling has been introduced into them destroying all future value as power generators. Granted moving a monstrously huge island eight feet eastward is hard to predict . . . but, clumping reactors in close proximity and storing highly dangerous nuclear waste above the reactors themselves; these are the sorts of acts that can win a whole truckload of Darwin Awards (given to those who find ultra-ignorant ways to wipe themselves out of reproducing and affecting the gene pool) for a people whose intelligence and engineering savvy had been famous worldwide up to recently.
Rajjpuut would suggest that whole volumes will soon be written about the errors of judgment attached to Japan’s nuclear industry. What to do about the waste now? OUCH! Moving it away from the threatened reactors seems very wise, but remember they’ve had over 300 aftershocks; more than 120 of those aftershocks have been of greater magnitude than the quake that demolished parts of New Zealand last week; more than 150 of these aftershocks have been greater than 6.0 reading – do you want trucks of nuclear waste travelling around the flattened landscape waiting for one more 6.3 Richter Scale tremor to destroy the trucks and release their deadly cargo everywhere? OUCH!
Since multiple meltdowns (multiple meltdowns!!!) are now a distinct possibility on top of everything else that's attacked the island; we recommend the American management experts Kepner-Tregoe be invited in to help the Japanese deal with this unmitigated mess (a K-T technical phrase describing a conflagration and confluence of intertwined problems) ASAP. Pray for Japan.
Ya’ll live long, strong and ornery,