Mar. 16th, 2011

funranium: (Duck 'n' Cover)
Instead of several reactors venting steam/smoke, I would instead like you to imagine this area in Sendai covered with a grove of trees in area comparable to the nuclear power plants.

I would now like you to light it up, all the trees on fire. Look at the smoke. Now, go to your mapping software of choice and look at your position on Planet Earth relative to Sendai.

If you don't think you would see the smoke from a fire of this size (rather small) at your current location, then you no have reason to be concerned about the fallout because the atmospheric transport mechanisms are exactly the same. In fact, fallout of the radioactive materials of concern are a bit less of a worry because the elements and isotopes of highest concern tend to be rather dense and not travel well. To move it around the world by getting material to the high winds of the stratosphere, you have to have a very large and/or very energetic fire.

Of course, moving material to that height in the air column also means global dilution as you spread it everywhere. Other than the immediate reactor vicinity, no one place gets particularly crapped up.
 
So, think of your last wildfire, think how large it was and how far away, think how the winds blew and what you saw. Now, compare that with the size of the reactor complex.
 
With that, please go back to contemplating the horror of the two disasters that actually happened to Japan rather than the one people are working hard to prevent. The reason the reactors are such a pain in the butt to get under control right now is because it is taking Japan...JAPAN, people!!!...nearly a week to get emergency power supplied to the pumps for these reactors. That is how badly the earthquake and tsunami have fucked up the basic infrastructure of the area.

I'm pretty tired of explaining things to people that seem to want this to be catastrophic nuclear doom for the world. I do not understand why this narrative is appealing and makes intuitive sense to people. Wait, yes I do; Doom By Man's Hubris is a classical theme. Damn my GM storytelling experience.

December 2012

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