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"Whichever way the wind blows" - Update Fukushima I Nuclear Disaster

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Japan nuclear crisis unlike Chernobyl - U.N. atom chief
Reuters March 15, 2011, 5:18 am

Vienna (Reuters) Yukiya Amano, director general of the " IAEA expressed confidence Japanese authorities were doing all they could to restore safety at the sites and said a Chernobyl-style disaster was "very unlikely."

"I think at this time we don't have any indication of fuel that is currently melting," IAEA safety official James Lyons said.

"The Japanese authorities are working as hard as they can, under extremely difficult circumstances, to stabilise the nuclear power plants and ensure safety," Amano told the agency's first news conference since Friday's earthquake.  March 15

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An IAEA safety officer offered these comforting words

"I think at this time we don't have any indication of fuel that is currently melting," IAEA safety official James Lyons said.  March 15

Secretary Crick indicated the source of the IAEA's problems in an address to the UN General Assembly Fourth Committee in 2007.  After noting that,

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The secretariat was also beset by staffing problems:  after the post for one of two professionals within the secretariat was abolished in 1992, it had become ever more difficult for it to keep pace with new scientific developments.  Malcolm Crick, UN General Assembly, Fourth Committee, October 29, 2007

We have yet to hear the excuse for IAEA director general Amano's ignorance at the eleventh hour.

The knew or should have known

""  the real embarrassment for the Japanese government is not so much the nature of the accident but the fact it was warned long ago about the risks it faced in building nuclear plants in areas of intense seismic activity. Several years ago, the seismologist Ishibashi Katsuhiko stated, specifically, that such an accident was highly likely to occur. Nuclear power plants in Japan have a "fundamental vulnerability" to major earthquakes, Katsuhiko said in 2007. The government, the power industry and the academic community had seriously underestimated the potential risks posed by major quakes."   The Guardian, March 12

At The Automatic Earth, poster Stoneleigh, (Nicole Foss) presents a scathing and comprehensive indictment of the ignorance and negligence required to create the current catastrophe.  Foss holds a law degree with a focus on nuclear issues.  The Oxford University Institute for Energy Studies published her study, Nuclear Safety and International Governance: Russia and Eastern Europe by N Foss, in 1999.  The entire post by Stoneleigh is highly recommended.

Foss marches through the sequence of events that will define the coming scandal of nuclear negligence with documentation at each step.  One of the most interesting points concerns the tests on TEPCO (Tokyo power) Fukushima I reactors, No. 1 and No2.  The power company built the plant. It did not use test procedures to account for the recent earthquake:

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"Simultaneous seismic activity along the three tectonic plates in the sea east of the plants--the epicenter of Friday's quake--wouldn't surpass 7.9, according to the company's presentation. The company based its models partly on previous seismic activity in the area, including a 7.0 earthquake in May 1938 and two simultaneous earthquakes of 7.3 and 7.5 on November 5 of the same year...    Stoneleigh, The Automatic Earth, March 13

The test was devised to assure that the plant and reactors passed the test.  It's that simple.

Foss makes this insightful comment about comparisons to Chernobyl:

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