Common Sense On The Fukushima-Daiichi Reactor Incident
What is known is that this is a situation very different than Chernobyl or Three Mile Island. There was no operator error involved at Fukushima-Daiichi, and each reactor was successfully shut down within moments of detecting the quake. The situation has evolved slowly but in a manner that was not anticipated by designers who had not assumed that electrical power to run emergency pumps would be unavailable for days after the shutdown. They built an impressive array of redundant pumps and power generating equipment to preclude against this problem. Unfortunately, the tsunami destroyed it.
Read the whole thing for the details.
As Charlie Martin said on the PJ Tatler today:
The frustrating part about writing on this stuff is that people don’t seem to have any middle setting between “everything is fine” and “run in circles scream and shout”. So saying “no, it’s not Chernobyl” is interpreted as “it’s nothing.”
So, I’ll take my own shot at it: it’s serious, and needs attention, but Chernobyl it ain’t.