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Sorry for the snappishness guys. No insult intended. It's just that catastrophism on that scale leaves me entirely exasperated. If I truly believed in the destruction of the people and nation of Japan, I'd be going to the bank, maxing out my mortage and shorting Japanese government bonds. I hope none of you are doing that, because Japan as a nation and a people will be fine, and I wouldn't like you to lose your savings.

I'm sorry to say I can't recall exactly where I saw the data on the total radioactive emissions. It was somewhere in the mainstream media and was probably linked to here on the ET. That's the best I can do right now.

And the sea is big. It's already full of molten down submarine reactors, and no harm done that anyone can even detect. If we wanted to we could grind all the nuclear waste in the world to microscopic dust and slowly disperse it in the oceans, without even noticing any uptick in the background radioation as it over time would spread evenly. Not that I argue for such a measure, for a number of reasons, but still.

Make no mistake: the Fukushima accident is the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. But it's not the end of Japan, nor is it likely to be dangerous outside the exclusion zone (60 km, right?). Indeed, excepting unlucky hotspots and the plant site itself, the area inside the zone will be safe in not too long a time, if it not already is that. The vast majority of the emissions happened during the first few days of the accident, and most of the activity naturally comes from the elements with the shortest half-lifes, which have already decayed or are in the process of decaying. Soil contamination from radioactive iodine and strontium will be the lasting damage to hot spots and the plant sites, as they have a half-life short enough to be dangerous and long enough to hang around for considerable time spans.

This is bad, but Goodzilla aint in Tokyo.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 04:45:57 PM EST
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If I truly believed in the destruction of the people and nation of Japan, I'd be going to the bank, maxing out my mortage and shorting Japanese government bonds.

Has it ever occurred to you that it might be morally questionable to profit from the death of a country and its inhabitants?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:33:51 PM EST
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Don't be uneconomic.

Economics is politics by other means
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:43:06 PM EST
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It would be making the Market (tm) more Efficient (tm). Joking aside, if you are dead certain that the price of a security will move in a certain way which isn't discounted by the market, it'd be foolish not to exploit that as long you're not breaking any laws. You could always donate the profit to those 120 million Japanese refugees we supposedly should be expecting.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:50:10 PM EST
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If I truly believed in the destruction of the people and nation of Japan, I'd be going to the bank, maxing out my mortage and shorting Japanese government bonds.

Has it ever occurred to you that it might be morally questionable to profit from the death of a country and its inhabitants?

He would not be.

He would be separating some sucker in the bond market from his money. That transaction hasn't a hill of beans to do with the situation in Japan. They might as well be two croupiers in Vegas for all anybody in the real world would care.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:58:19 PM EST
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Ps. I meant cesium and strontium, not iodine.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat Jun 11th, 2011 at 05:52:14 PM EST
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the area inside the zone will be safe

By "safe", do you mean below radiation level limits? The problem with this is the probabilistic nature of damage from low-level radiation, combined with large populations. If, say, the Fukushima fallout over northern Japan beyond the exclusion zone causes an excess cancer death rate of one in a thousand over an area inhabited by 10 million people, that's still 10,000 victims. This is a certain effect of uncertain magnitude, unfortunately with uncertainties in the orders of magnitudes. (This didn't keep the authors of the Russian Academy of Sciences study on Chernobyl to also estimate the dead from Chernobyl fallout across Western Europe and North America in the hundreds of thousands.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 10:44:32 AM EST
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And 10,000 victims will not bring down the nation of Japan.

It is, for example, a smaller total impact than the cancer epidemic from the chemical industry, which has failed to taken down any national economies to date. Indeed, it could be fewer than the lives Japan saves relative to the US by its less intensive reliance on driving private vehicles.

The set of "bad things, but not an existential threat to the continued existence of a national economy" is one with a quite wide range.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 11:53:26 AM EST
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(This is where macro-economics fails to capture the phenomena.)

Depends on who the 10,000 is ... doesn't it?  Only (about) 3% of a nation's population is Creative Class where the rubber-meets-the-future.  In some industrial areas we're talking tens of people who have the knowledge and ability to drive the R&D to successful products.  

Example:

Fukushima was the leading global center for digital camera research and development.  With these people dead, missing, or running away from radioactivity the entire digital camera industry is falling from the grasp of the Japanese.  If it get away from them, they won't get it back; they will always be behind the curve.  

Same basic process happened to Motorola and is happening to Nokia in the mobile telephony business.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:11:59 PM EST
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And there you have in a nutshell the difference between what hit Fukushima itself and what would happen as a result of 10,000 distributed fairly randomly across 10million.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 04:18:04 PM EST
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