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Spiegel now put the English translation of their cover article on-line (slightly amended for Monday's second explosion, but already dated in terms of domestic events).

Japan's Chernobyl: Fukushima Marks the End of the Nuclear Era - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Japan was still reeling from its largest recorded earthquake when an explosion struck the Fukushima nuclear plant on Saturday, followed by a second blast on Monday. Despite government assurances, there are fears of another Chernobyl. The incident has sparked a heated political debate in Germany and looks likely to end the dream of cheap and safe nuclear power. By SPIEGEL Staff.

...

When the Chernobyl accident occurred, Germany's nuclear industry managed to convince itself, and German citizens, that aging reactors and incapable, sloppy engineers in Eastern Europe were to blame. Western reactors, or so the industry claimed, were more modern, better maintained and simply safer.

It is now clear how arrogant this self-assured attitude is. If an accident of this magnitude could happen in Japan, it can happen just as easily in Germany. All that's needed is the right chain of fatal circumstances. Fukushima is everywhere.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 04:18:33 PM EST
It is now clear how arrogant this self-assured attitude is. If an accident of this magnitude could happen in Japan, it can happen just as easily in Germany. All that's needed is the right chain of fatal circumstances. Fukushima is everywhere.

But really what's happened here? A historically large earthquake just off the coast of an active island arc, the plant then gets swamped by a tsunami and craps out. If it wasn't for poor design and location of the backup cooling system, the plant would have been ok. Right?  

by Jace on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 05:23:31 PM EST
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Adding, I reckon you can find the same arrogant self-assured attitude in any other field of energy without too much difficulty. I think it goes with the territory: big toys without a lot of accidents.
by Jace on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 05:38:20 PM EST
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In a word, hubris.

So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 05:40:47 PM EST
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The one thing in short supply.
by Jace on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 07:30:41 PM EST
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One of these days I'll stop confusing hubris with humility...
by Jace on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 08:29:59 PM EST
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Poor design (backup generators for a seaside plant, in a floodable basement), technically clueless management (I bet you they're all lawyers and MBAs with no nuclear engineers) in a panic. TEPCO has a history of forged plant safety reports... As I said in other comments,
Everyone can crack jokes about Soviet technology, but if this happens to the Japanese we can stop feeling all smug about French and Swedish reactors.

Not unlike the way the 1997/8 Asian/Russian financial crisis couldn't happen to the "sophisticated" WestTM, and look at the ongoing Global Financial Clusterfuck.



So, in what may be my last act of "advising", I'll advise you to cut the jargon. -- My old PhD advisor, to me, 26/2/11
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 05:39:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Im sure there's a powerful youtube film waiting to be made there if the right clips could be found of talking heads from the world of finance reporting from that period, and nuclear talking heads from the last few days.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 06:00:10 PM EST
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If it wasn't for the clueless management I'd be all for nukes. Usually working with something that is both highly visible and highly toxic and/or fragile means a very cautious approach where you make sure that things don't go boom. Ironically it's often the other fields with supposedly less risk that tend to be more dangerous. Perhaps a fitting analogy is passenger vehicles: commercial aircraft have to be held to a very high standard of safety due to the spectacular nature of their wrecks, automobiles much less so even though they're far more lethal.
by Jace on Mon Mar 14th, 2011 at 08:20:11 PM EST
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Have not felt all tat smug since the Forsmark incident. The internal report turned out that there was an ongoing degradation of the safety culture. This was hushed down (as is done when you have a degraded safety culture), leaked to media, caused a scandal and local management was fired. Not sure anything was done about the safety culture though.

Appears the local leading politician that claim that failed safety measures did not matter because "the plant is 200% safe, so when half the safety measures fail it is still 100% safe" is no longer a there. Might have moved on to greater heights.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Tue Mar 15th, 2011 at 07:06:08 AM EST
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