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So it turns out that there *was* a meltdown around reactor #1. Quite a lot of people suspected this from the visual evidence, but TEPCO and the Japanese government denied, denied, denied. Accusations that those arguing for a meltdown were all internet conspiracy theorists (which also occurred early in the Katrina disaster as well, and…

Mark Notaras has a terrific piece on what things are like in Japan, in a culture that has for several generations not had to worry too much about their food. There are useful lessons there for all of us: But to what geographic point do people’s concerns about radiation extend? Once nearby prefectures are associated…

I’ve been very grateful for my colleague Greg Laden’s regular updates of the raw discussions on the Fukushima situation, but it is nice to have a coherent, visual overview, and Nicole Foss has provided another wonderful analysis at The Automatic Earth. It is very hard to synthesize all the information, because there is so much…

There’s a very good piece in the Guardian about the ways that Eastern Japan’s energy crisis is a model for experiences we might have in the future: For large parts of eastern Japan that were not directly hit by the tsunami on 11 March 2011, including the nation’s capital, the current state of affairs feels…

The Oil Drum has a well-referenced, thoughtful summary of the present situation at Fukushima – bad and getting worse as it gets harder and harder for workers to get close to the facility. The word “entombment” has been mentioned – which may be the only viable outcome. More than a million Japanese people risk losing…

On some level, all disasters are agricultural disasters. When seawater washes over land, when the earth cracks and collapses buildings, when livelihoods and lives are lost, farmers die and lose their jobs. It is easy to forget this, of course, but it is always true – and there’s something immensely sad about people loving a…

One of the things I’ve been arguing for years is that most people in the developed world, given a perceived lack of alternatives and no narrative to explain change and sacrifice, will do almost anything to keep their present way of life. I point out that if they become cold enough most people would shovel…

Fukushima Radiation Issues

From Time/CNN: The ongoing struggle to snuff out the nuclear crisis occurred amid mounting confusion about key elements of risk now in play. At a hearing in Washington on Wednesday, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Gregory Jaczko, called the radiation levels at one of the plant’s units “extremely high.” He added…

It can be hard to sort out exactly what’s happening in Japan right now, or what the status of the nuclear situation is. Euan Mearns has done everyone a great service in pulling together a summary of known and unknown and credible, intelligent speculation, while clearly indicating which is which. It is well worth a…

Food Storage and Evacuation

One of the good things that could potentially come out of the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami is an awakening of people to the reality that even in seemingly protected and developed world space, disaster, true disaster, is more common than you think, and requires basic preparedness. I pointed out in a previous post that we…