They Lied About Fukushima. There's a Shock.

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 in other instances) were used to discredit people who argued that a meltdown had, in fact occurred.

This is a useful thing to know, because it gives you a sense of the dynamic being built up between governments and ordinary people as things become less stable on the world scene. On the one hand, extreme events are more common due to climate change, lack of ability to maintain infrastructure, etc... On the other hand, the idea that there is a coherence to these events, and that historically it is risky to trust official versions is maligned as conspiracy theorism.

The thing is, there is plenty of nutjob conspiracy theorism out there, from the vaccines cause autism folks to the birthers, to the "that wasn't really Osama Bin Laden" gang to the always-popular illuminati folk. It can be genuinely difficult to sort out who is nuts and who isn't. At the same time, however, the more world governments feed this stuff by looking like cartoon politicians from bad disaster movies, the harder it all gets, and the lower everyone's degree of confidence in their government gets..

Conspiracy theorists of all kinds are an easy target - and a common one, and they should be punctured. The problem is that the best tool to puncture conspiracies is for governments to tell the truth about what the heck is happening - and that's not happening. It is easy to blame the weak-minded and crazy for believing foolish things. It is, however, increasingly reasonable for people to work from the assumption that we're all being lied to - because we are. That's not a recipe for reducing the conspiracy theorists' numbers.

At Dynamics of Cats, they've got a great visual for the planned solution. Check it out!


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Isn't one of the stalking horses the fact that there isn't a technical defination of a melt down, so "they" can truthfully say there wasn't one.

Could you elaborate (or point to an earlier post) on the conspiracy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina?

Where's the evidence they lied rather than just didn't know? It's one thing to say that there were indications that the reactor may have melted, and I seem to remember TEPCO saying that, it's another to declarative statements on something you don't know for sure. Until they got to the control room there was no way to be sure of what had happened.

By Paul Turnbull (not verified) on 17 May 2011 #permalink

Paul: seconded. Sharon: do you have a link to a flat denial by TEPCO? Or even a statement that

I tried googling, but the top eleventysquillion links are other people saying "ha! now they can't deny there's been a meltdown" without providing links to said denial.

I wouldn't be surprised if TEPCO did lie - they're a big corporation, it's practically a fiduciary duty. But I also wouldn't be surprised if the "people arguing that a meltdown had happened" were cranks who got lucky.

By Corkscrew (not verified) on 17 May 2011 #permalink

"Quite a lot of people suspected this from the visual evidence,"

Tsk! You're understating the situation; weird for you! On the contrary, I stated that it was PROVABLE; from the isotopes they were announcing that a meltdown and breach had occurred. Others did too.…

"The only way to get cesium outside is if the core of the reactor has melted, and the core is leaking incredibly hot vaporized metal into the outside world."

I'm still boggled at all the people willing to accept "we aren't really sure" - in light of the radio isotopes freely reported. What the heck did people think - Tinkerbell was sprinkling cesium fairy dust outside? It, and the Iodine 131, were appearing by spontaneous quantum evaporation out of black holes in other dimensions?

It. Was. Obvious. And. Provable. And the entire world did not want to know, so they all hung onto "oh, we're not sure, we think it's all fine"...

I'm very confused at the way you just pointed out the way that many rational "conspiracy theories" are flat-out rejected/denied/ridiculed by governments and media and then proceed to ridicule a few yourself. There is quite a bit of rational evidence out there that vaccines DO cause autism in children, that Obama was NOT born in the United States, and that the man killed recently in Pakistan might NOT have been Osama!

Don't forget there is intentional disinformation out there on both sides of the table. Psy-ops isn't just about mainstream propaganda, it's also about publishing stuff that appears to be "conspiracy theory" but is really just nutjob-sounding-stuff meant to distract and discredit the TRUTH.

And to equate "being lied to" about the extent of damages at Fukushima with the other conspiracies you mentioned is like comparing apples to oranges. TEPCO said all along (and still do) that their statements are only unverified estimates and it's pretty obvious/expected that their initial estimates are going to be on the conservative side -should they have come out at first instead saying "all 6 reactors could have completely melted-down but we're not really sure yet?" There are perhaps other TEPCO lies that DO compare to real "conspiracy theory" (like why did they have so much "spent" fuel on-site and why was #4 so hot PRIOR to the earthquake when it was supposed to be in "cold shutdown" - were they using it to manufacture weapons-grade plutonium?) but strictly "the extent of damage" report doesn't really count, sorry...

Wow, this is a globalist propaganda blog if I've ever seen one. You bring up a conspiracy that is already publicly exposed to get credit and then you say "but all other conspiracy theories are unfounded". And I can see you are also pushing the global warming hoax and population reduction. Good job, hail Lucifer.

By Joe Sixpack (not verified) on 17 May 2011 #permalink

@Corkscrew if you want examples on flat out lies by TEPCO you can lookup pretty much any statement they have released...because they all say "no threat to human health" which makes it an open and shut case IMHO. There's been a THREAT to human health since minute one after the tsunami started it's path towards the plants, and there still is and will be for generations to come. If you ask me, intentional deception is the same thing as lies.

By Joe Sixpack (not verified) on 17 May 2011 #permalink

Depends on how you define meltdown. The popular meme is a leftover from the movie "China Syndrome". Some on the technical side says that breakdown of any of the materials in the core is a 'meltdown'. Others claim it has to include breakdown of the zirconium casings but doesn't need to include the uranium pellets.

And, of course. Those who are most concerned with preventing panic aren't going to admit anything that cannot be unequivocally proved.

I'm not sure it amounts to a hill of beans. What exactly would be different in the response if they used the word 'meltdown'? Would it make the situation better? Would it have changed anything?

Now they have entirely unequivocal evidence that here was a meltdown and everyone jumps on the 'they lied' train. Waving the bloody shirt and weeping like Beck over their hurt feelings over the injustice of it all. Get over it. Get over yourself.

They told you what you needed to know. They told you how to protect yourself. They kept people appropriately protected for the situation no mater what terms you may use to describe it. A likely result of claiming 'they lied' will be silence the next time.

For those that defend TEPCO and the Japaneese Government - you are what Lenin called "Useful Idiots" The public is entitiled to the truth whether good or bad. It absolutely directly affects thier lives and well being. The only officals that said things might not be as bad as they are are persons with a vested interest in keeping the truth hidden, ie. TEPCO and various governments around the world including the US Government. I hope you people wake up and realize no government is your friend. Thier very purpose should put you on guard and that purpose is CONTROL. I do not need control - do you?

Boy, you really beat that strawman up good. "They" "lied". No need for evidence of inaccuracy or intention.

Except, of course, that everyone has already been saying there is extensive fuel damage, so actually "they" weren't denying anything. The current uncertainty - and it is still uncertain - is exactly how much damage, and what other damage there is apart from the fuel. How much damage there is to the reactor vessels, for example. A hole suitable for corium to escape? Control port damage that allows water and gas escape? Coolant loop leaks? Still unknown.

"visual evidence" - what, the reactor building explosions? Did people perhaps think those were the reactor vessels themselves exploding? You do know anyone who thought that would be wrong?

Greenpa @5: Caesium is relatively volatile and highly soluble. It is one of the contaminants that would be expected from gas leaks from an overheated core and from any coolant leaks. Strontium would be a better choice for evidence of breach - I think there was one report of trace strontium but it has not been generally found, suggesting no significant escape.

Joe Sixpack @8: we can agree on one thing. Intentional deception is indeed lying. BUT. The levels of radioactivity experienced by the general public have indeed posed no threat to human health. So your example does not prove that anyone lied.

We should though try to ensure common terminology in our disagreement. I think you may be using "threat" in a much more indirect way than me, and probably most people. Perhaps you can give an example of what you mean, a similar level of threat in different context - does a hammer in a hardware store pose a threat to my thumb, for example?

Actually most thought there were meltdowns at all three reactors. And most on the net thought so. People saying there would be hundreds of thousands of deaths and that kind of thing were called out. With good reason.

Isn't this a strawman as they are just inspecting the damage close up in the last couple of weeks.

Dan: "I do not need control - do you?"

Depends. There are several people I would kill immediately, if I could get away with it. No, not kidding. Now; the world would; in MY opinion, be greatly improved by removing these persons. Your opinion might differ.

Then there's Goldman Sachs. Yeah; they really need to be controlled.

They did not lie! They did not lie! They just did not know how to describe what was happening in a manner that YOU would understand what was happening.

That said. Every heard a Japanese person say NO? It's usually a yes and.. or maybe... or "if you like"...

Without understanding their culture it's hard to put labels on understanding the translated words. There is some serious social and cultural language barriers that have nothing to do with the actual words being used. The burden is upon the listener to "understand" not on the speaker. Which just means that you did not listen clearly enough. Typical foreigner mistake. (trust me I've been there and done that)

Incidentally Sharon, there's another aspect to this story, still not being covered, which I find possibly the most disturbing piece of it all.

I'm an evolutionary ecologist; not a physicist. That does entail solid familiarity with geology and basic atomic physics; since isotope behavior is critical to aging fossils and Carbon 14 dating is used in climate and anthropology all the time; plus labeled oxygen and nitrogen, radio-labeled or otherwise, are used to track nutrient cycles extensively; plus, I'm seriously trained in the scientific method, and the rules of evidence.

It was absolutely clear to me, immediately, that there had been a meltdown and extensive release of core material very soon after the tsunami. Rules of evidence allow no other conclusion.

So- where in hell are the physicists from our universities? They HAVE to have known this. And they have, basically universally, kept their mouths shut. And yes- this has meant harm to many people- the evacuation limits Japan instituted were far far too small for safety from cancer. Those folks won't die soon. But they will die.

Because the Japanese didn't want a "panic". And our scientists (nobody is going to listen to me, I'm well aware) - were complicit.

Yeah; that bothers me, a lot. What about the "Science Blogs" folk? Anybody here speak up? It's time to say why not, if not.

Or, as one of the Navy Seals from the Bin laden execution said; "It's not that we're so special; it's that everyone else sucks so bad." Are our physicists just so badly trained they didn't KNOW that cesium and I-131 outside can only mean a core breach?

Either way- it's not good news for our "civilization".

"They did not lie! They did not lie! They just did not know how to describe what was happening in a manner that YOU would understand what was happening."

Sorry; that's BS. There were unmistakeable radionuclides miles away from the reactors- materials that could only come from a reactor core. This was published in the Japanese press as direct quotes from professors there. That means; core breach. And they stated, repeatedly; "We believe the reactor containment vessels are intact, and not leaking."

That is NOT in any fashion, a matter of translation. Look it up. They knew.