Right on schedule -- if the schedule is a 24/7 round of "Awful, terrible, horrible and getting worse," interspersed with 15 seconds of cute baby animals each and every hour -- the oldstream media has latched onto reports of workers at Reactor 3 encountering water with unexpectedly high radioactive content for a brand-new round of hand-wringing, eyebrow-lifting and person-to-person interviews with men in suits addressing serious, scientific concerns like, "dilithium crystals: threat or menace?" And they're talking meltdown once again. Oh, how they love that word; I'm still waiting for a blue-candlewax animation of the hot stuff cooking its way through. (The Reuters article linked to about is about the most level-headed).
The real story is, we don't know yet; maybe nobody does. The people most likely to know are patiently explaining that if there was an actual meltdown, they'd expect the water to be a lot more contaminated. And somehow, no reporter seems capable of putting together "venting steam" with "water that may have come from the reactor." "Dr. Watson? Mr. Hearst? You know my methods; apply them."
And then there's the exciting -- to a reporter's mind -- news that Reactor 3 was running MOX, a partially-reprocessed mix that, OMG, contains plutonium! --As does every fuel rod that's been cooking very long; the MOX version contains about twice as much as your regular brand but wild-eyed discussion of even-more-deadlier is just more misunderstanding of risk. Some straight talk about MOX at this link. What's in any reactor fuel rod, you don't want on the coffee table in your living room -- but you don't want a bathtub full of anhydrous ammonia there, either, and that stuff is hauled in big tanks all over, anywhere there are farms. If fuel rods were venomous snakes, it might be easier for the newsies to dope out the degree of badness.... Maybe.
Meanwhile, the newschurn pounds on, turning half-understood rumor into pettily-packaged speculation, leaving you and me to dredge the Web in search of truth, Diogenes in a pea-soup fog with half a book of matches. Good luck!
(Speaking of radioactive waste, former U.S. President James Earl Carter is going to North Korea for reasons unknown. Perhaps they'll keep him. Ahh, dreams....)
YANKEE RADIO TOOL KIT, #106
4 weeks ago