Thursday, July 19, 2007

Japanese Nuclear Power Plant Blatently Dumps Carbon Emissions Into Atmosphere

When the 7 pm NHK news came on yesterday, Wednesday 18 July 2007, the top story featured film of smoke billowing up from a nuclear power plant in the north-west of Japan. Part of it was on fire and burning, having been earthquake ignited.

The earthquake that hit on Sunday, inconveniencing me and mine by delaying our train's departure from Tokyo, was not an end-of-the-world earthquake. It was 6.8 on the Japanese magnitude scale, a tweaked version of the Richter scale. A "tweaked" version is used in Japan to accommodate the cultural demands of Japan's cult of uniqueness, a cult to which pretty much every citizen of Japan ascribes. Japanese earthquakes must, necessarily, be very special only-in-Japan earthquakes, unlike any other earthquakes in Japan.

Using the conventional Richter scale, a United States outfit clocked the quake at 6.6.

Since this nuclear power plant was sitting in a major earthquake zone, the zone which goes by the name of Japan, the occasional shake is only to be expected. But, alarmingly, this not-all-that-massive earthquake exceeded the design specifications of the plant, and, for the first time ever in Japan, radiation leaked as a direct consequence of earthquake damage.

The authorities made the usual soothing noises, saying something like, relax, dudes, it's not that bad, it's just some of the soft little teddy bears of radiation coming out to play. But they were lying. Or, to put it another way, they were being economical with the truth.

When I opened up this morning's paper, I saw that it's been revealed that the radiation leak is, surprise surprise, more serious than earlier advertised, and that the mayor of the city which has the power plant in its neighborhood, the mayor of Kashiwazaki, has ordered the plant to close down until experts can verify that it is safe.

And first I thought, hey, way to go! But then I thought: wait a moment. Just how does this end up being the mayor's business? Japan has a government, and on TV we've seen the Japanese government very prominently playing at being in charge of the disaster, so how come the mayor was left to handle this problem on his lonesome? Where was Prime Minister Abe and where were all the knights of his round table when this monster was spewing up splitting atoms?

Apparently nobody is expecting this plant to go Chernobyl, and the part that was seen on TV last night burning does not house one of the reactors. But, even so. There are questions to be asked here, obviously.

To correct something that I stated in my last blog entry, it's not clear that "it looks as if the new Mongolian yokozuna (grand champion) is going to win the Emperor's Cup for the second time in a row." I thought this guy, Hakuho, was doing fine, but when I glanced at the back page of the newspaper last night, I saw a photo of him being bounced on his backside by Kotomitsuki.

Yesterday, Kotomitsuki was beaten in turn by Asashoryu, and, plainly, the Emperor's Cup is up for grabs.

In yesterday's blog entry I noted that my three-year-old daughter had been demanding to be allowed to wear her precious one-piece but that her mother had been refusing permission on the grounds that it was too cold. But I forgot to say how this ended up working out.

In the event, yesterday, the demanding daughter ended up going to the daycare center sensibly dressed in jeans, but this morning, having once again made the "one-piece" demand, she was granted what she wanted, and went to daycare dressed in that.

The daughter is seen in the photo at the top of this blog entry dressed in the said one-piece, shortly before saying goodbye to NHK's morning TV for kids on channel three and heading out for the daycare.


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